We take on the Russian champions on matchday two, chasing our first points in Group E following the narrow defeat to Monaco a fortnight ago at Wembley.
As the team drawn from pot one, CSKA are the highest-ranked side in the group and although Mauricio expects a stern test, he has prioritised three points to get us up and running on the European stage.
“Always for me the next game is the most difficult,” he said. “It’s true that it will be a tough game, we must win because we need to go to the next round and to have the possibility to go through to the next round we need to take the three points.
“Be sure that it will be difficult but always we believe that we can do our job and win the game. We need to be patient, play and perform better than CSKA.”
Mauricio also followed up on his promise from when the draw was made to find out more intricate details about our Russian opponents’ playing style.
“We have all the information but you know, the Champions League is a different game and a different competition,” he said. “It’s true that they’re a good team and it will be very difficult but we need to be focused on our potential and how we need to play. That is the most important thing.
“Always, to build your confidence, it’s important to take victories like we did in the last three games. I think that we are in a good moment and now we need to transfer that onto the pitch.”
Our academy squad joined the first team on the plane to Russia on Monday ahead of their own encounter with CSKA in the UEFA Youth League this afternoon and Mauricio highlighted how this experience can help our youngsters in the future.
“It’s a very good opportunity and it’s a great experience for them to share this time all together on our travels,” he explained. “It’s fantastic because the players that are involved in the youth team can be close to one day being in the first team and I think it shows a very good commitment between both (academy and first team).”