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Advocaat prepared for Anzhi clash

Former Russia and Zenit head coach Dick Advocaat could have called in favours to prepare his AZ Alkmaar side for their Europa League tie with Anzhi Makhachkala - but decided the personal approach worked best.

Advocaat welcomes Anzhi to Holland on Thursday night for the first leg of their last-16 clash and, having spent almost five years in Russia managing both Zenit and the national team, he knows enough about Russian football to judge his forthcoming opposition for himself.

"I called no contacts to gather information," he said at his pre-match press conference.

"What we have done, we have done ourselves.

"I know Anzhi have been pretty good, I saw them beat Rubin Kazan on Sunday. That says something because I know from experience that Rubin are a good team.

"We have also viewed the matches between Anzhi and Racing Genk (in the previous round)."

Belgian outfit Genk held Anzhi to a goalless draw in Russia before going down 2-0 at home in the second leg and Advocaat, who lifted the UEFA Cup during his spell at Zenit, says he has learned from their mistakes.

"We must ensure that we do not fall into the trap as Genk did," he added. "They played at home with too much risk.

"Anzni play with a lot of people behind the ball and are a pure counter-attacking team which is very compact. They are not the team two years ago, when Guus Hiddink was coach there, they are a really different team but their quality is still strong."

Anzhi currently sit bottom of the Russian Premier League but picked up their first win of the season with their victory over Rubin.

Defender Andrei Eschenko believes the club's recruitment during the winter transfer window, with 10 new players brought in, has helped improve Anzhi's fortunes ahead of the AZ tie.

"The structure of our game has changed now new players of higher level have joined the team," he said.

"We don't concede and now we score goals and create opportunities. We have some quick players in the squad now, we can go on the attack more often."

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