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Spartak Moscow executive concerned by players' attitudes


MOSCOW, April 15 (RIA Novosti) - Spartak Moscow's general director has said that while he is worried the club's players lack a winning mentality, he still believes in the ability of Danish trainer Michael Laudrup to turn things round.

The most successful Russian side of the 1990s have made a poor start to the 2009 football season, winning just one of their four games, and lie in 10th place.

Commenting on the club's 3-1 defeat at FC Moskva at the weekend, Valery Karpin told Sport Express that he was unhappy with the players' "commitment, mood, and organization."

"The team handles difficulties badly," the former Spartak, Valencia and Celta Vigo midfielder said. "While everything is going well, we have a chance of getting a result. But as soon as a problem arises, our game breaks down."

Danish legend Michael Laudrup took over the club last September, and the club were hopeful that the trainer could replicate the success of another foreign trainer, Zenit St. Petersburg's Dick Advocaat. However, Spartak struggled to find form toward the end of last season, and crashed out of the UEFA Cup at the group stages. Their forward line was particularly weakened by the sale of Roman Pavlyuchenko to Tottenham Hotspur just before Laudrup's arrival.

Spartak had a quiet close season, although the club did sign Brazilian midfield international Alex from Sport Club Internacional.

Karpin told the paper that it would be unfair to judge Laudrup on the results of four games this season. "There is a marathon of 26 games ahead. Right now we have total faith in the Dane."

"I'll say this though. I have some questions for him, but I consider it unethical to voice them in the press. I've already asked them, before the game against Moskva. Our talk was constructive, and it seemed to me that we understand each other."

Spartak Moscow have won a record nine league titles since the break up of the Soviet Union, but have finished not higher than 2nd since 2001.

The club host Dynamo Moscow on Wednesday evening in a quarter-final Russian Cup clash.

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