- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

LILLE, France (AP) - Russia coach Leonid Slutsky is backing his team’s fans to behave themselves in Wednesday’s game against Slovakia and avoid his side being expelled from the European Championship.

“We are sure (our fans) will not do the same, they will not give any reasons to disqualify our team,” Slutsky said through an interpreter Tuesday, shortly after UEFA said Russia will be sent home if there is any repeat of the violence witnessed in Saturday’s game against England.

UEFA’s ruling came after Russia fans attacked England supporters at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille following a 1-1 draw that had been overshadowed by three days of clashes.

“We are sure we are not going to be kicked out,” Slutsky said. “There is not going to be any injustice.”

Russia, which was also charged over fan racism and fireworks being set off during the game, has been fined 150,000 euros ($169,000) by UEFA. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said there will be no appeal against the UEFA decision as a formal protest would make “no sense.”

Slutsky called the threat of expulsion a “dangerous situation” for his team.

“We have addressed our supporters and asked them to behave within the framework of rules,” the coach said. “We need their support. They supported us very well during the England game.”

Russia forward Artem Dzyuba also urged his team’s supporters to steer clear of trouble in the Group B match.

“It would be a very stupid thing and it’s going to be a big disappointment if we go out,” the Zenit striker said through an interpreter. “We don’t want to be disqualified from Euro 2016 because of this kind of situation. We do understand things can happen… Our supporters have to focus on just supporting us and we will try to show our best qualities in order to play in this competition.

“We are not in a street fighting championship here.”

Dzyuba also questioned the reporting of the incidents in Marseille.

“From British media you get the impression like English fans are angels,” he said. “You can’t say the Russian fans are the only faulty ones. It was 50-50, and at every conflict there are two parts.”


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