A few weeks ago, Russian central defender Kirill Suslov finished his first season with Norwegian 1st Division side Kongsvinger IL, so we arranged an interview with the former CSKA Moscow player to hear his impressions about his Norwegian adventure.
Nikita Armand: After the end of the regular season your team was fifth, and made the final of the Norwegian Cup. But now the cup has been won by Rosenborg, and in last match of the playoffs your team missed out on promotion to the Tippeligaen to FC Jerv. If you evaluate the season as a whole, how successful do you think it was?
Kirill Suslov: Yes, of course, the season was very productive, we played good football.
NA: Before the semi-final of the Norwegian Cup your coach Luis Pimenta showed the team a video in which relatives of the players motivated them. Did he motivate your for the final in any special way?
KS: He always motivates us, but for that match he used only words, necessary words! He is very good inspirer!
NA: Your coach is very emotionally responsive to team success. Not every coach can sprint the entire length of the pitch to celebrate a goal with the team. How does he respond to failure?
KS: He has never scolds, he doesn’t blame players. He thinks that each win and loss is the responsibility of the whole team.
NA: Usually when a player is substituted during the game, he and the head coach shake hands and say just one or two words to each other. But at the final match Luis Pimenta talked with each player he changed. Do you remember what he said?
KS: Of course! He said that I had had a fantastic season, that he was very thankful for me. And he added that I shouldn’t be upset, because the best lay ahead.
NA: Does he do it in every game, or only in that important match?
KS: He always chooses words of cheer, individual words for each player.
NA: In a previous interview you said that in Norway technical support is better than in Russia. And what about team work and individual qualities of players?
KS: I can’t say about the whole league, because I play at Kongsvinger with coach Luis Pimenta. He has his own vision of the game, his own style, his own slant to the players. Naturally I became better in all aspects, but I will always have room to grow. And about individual qualities, I can say that in Norway young, perspective footballers have a chance. All of them have their own strengths; some are good at dribbling, some have good vision, some can make a good pass, some are very fast and some show themselves in the fight. All of it should be considered.
NA: Also you said that if Russian players prove themselves in Norway they won’t think about their salary. Why?
KS: No, I said that if a young player has a chance to play football in Europe, they should take it without thinking! It’s a very useful experience and you have the chance grow into a worthy footballer.
NA: About two months ago at two FNL matches there was violence between fans. At one of these matches the referee decided stop it. You said that in Norway football is very popular. Can it happen in Norway?
KS: No, it can’t happen here, at the least I don’t see it. Fans come to watch football and support their team and not meddle in any scrapes! Everyone abides by the law, you can ‘clap by the heels’ for it!
NA: What do you think about your future? Do you want stay at Kongsvinger or change team?
KS: I’m open to suggestions. Sometimes I have calls from different football clubs, but I haven’t specific offers. If I have offering that I like I’ll pack bags and go. In general I want play at Germany or in Spain, but I have a one year contract here in Norway.