Astana head coach Grigory Babayan about the match in Almaty.
- It turned out to be an even match. Somewhere, we probably had more chances that we could convert - especially in the first half, there were a couple of chances where we ran counterattacks. Of course, there was a risk and we understood that it would be a difficult match. Therefore, 10 players were left in Astana, who played against Partizani. They didn’t want to take risks, there were muscle injuries, minor bruises and there was too much at stake. Now we are returning to Astana and the day after tomorrow we fly to Albania, for these reasons we left a large group of football players at home. Misha Gabyshev suffered a very serious injury during training yesterday, he is suspected of having a cruciate ligament rupture. We hope that the diagnosis will not be confirmed and we are waiting for tomorrow's result, but according to preliminary data, he will have a long recovery, surgery, and this is a big loss for us.
In general, a great atmosphere in the stadium, a large number of people and, of course, it is unpleasant to lose. Now we don't have time to give up - there is a long flight to Tirana and a difficult match ahead. The task we want to solve is reaching the group stage of the Conference League.
- At the 36th minute of the match, you sent Marin Tomasov and Islambek Kuat to the warm-up. In the second half, they came out from the first minutes, were they planned replacements or based on the result on the field?
- These were scheduled replacements for the distribution of loads, so we planned to make these two replacements during the break.
- In terms of preparation for the second leg against Partizani, everyone wishes you success. According to the planning preparation for the match, will it lead to success?
- We hope so. For these reasons, a large group of players remained in Astana, they work according to a different training schedule in order to properly lead them to the return game. It's hard to play three on the fourth day, plus the time difference, the long flight. Therefore, they worked yesterday and today according to their program, tomorrow we will work in the general group, and the other will work tactically. Here it is necessary to divide into groups, otherwise you will not approach the next match in optimal shape.
- Yesterday we read an interview with Sayan Khamitzhanov, in which he said that the club focuses on European competition. Today you played a semi-reserve squad, can you say that Astana abandoned the fight for the championship in favor of European competition?
- No, we have not given up the fight, but now the priority is the next match. The number one task is to reach the group stage of the Conference League, for this reason we decided to leave a group of players at home, we could not risk their health.