Russian President Vladimir Putin says fans "expect better" from the country's national team and want them to perform like "real warriors" at the Confederations Cup.
Russia are hosting this year's tournament and feature in its opening game on Saturday against New Zealand in St Petersburg.
Speaking two days before the clash, Putin warned the side that "fans and those who love Russian football expect better results from our national team," who have won just three of their last 15 games.
Putin added: "We'll hope that the guys play with full commitment, like real warriors and athletes, to at least please the fans with their effort to win."
Putin also suggested that poor youth coaching and too many foreign players in the Russian Premier League are holding the national team back, though he said that recent games have shown "there is potential."
Russia, who beat Hungary and drew with Chile in last week's friendlies, also face Portugal and Mexico in their Confederations Cup group.
Putin, meanwhile, has imposed a package of security measures for the tournament, but faces criticism from observers who say his order could hamper ordinary Russians' lives and stifle dissent.
The measures are based on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, which had a single host city and sports facilities far from inhabited areas. The Confederations Cup has four host cities and next year's World Cup in Russia will have 11.
"Sochi was easier," Russian author Andrei Soldatov, an expert on the security services, said. "Now we're talking about many cities. It's an unusual and dangerous situation."
Russian officials, however, say the Confederations Cup will be safe.
"No direct threats against participants or guests [have been uncovered]," said the senior federal security service official in charge of tournament security, Alexei Lavrishchev.
Lavrishchev added: "Law-abiding citizens have nothing to worry about [regarding security measures]."