Ivica Križanac: “On paper we’re favorites. The match will show the rest”

Zenit`s Croatian fullback talked about who Zenit has to watch in the Hajduk side, and about whether or not the guests will be afraid of the blue-white-light blues.

– You played for Hajduk back in the day. Are there any players left in the team who you know well?

– None. Nobody`s left from the team I was in. But I know the players in the team well all the same. A lot of the players in Hajduk were with me in the Croatian national team. I played against some of them in the Russian Premier League as well. So in general I know who we`re playing against.

– What do you think about the new technologies that prevent refereeing mistakes?

– I wasn`t expecting that question. That`s a good idea, as it seems to me. After all, the referees can influence the result of the match with their mistakes. Maybe they don`t do it purposely, it`s an accident, but it happens. It`s important to protect the game from these mistakes.

– Would you make any changes?

– I don`t know, honestly. I`d have to think a long time about that. I think the idea of referees behind the goalposts is a really good idea. For example, yesterday Ajax played Auxerre, and the French striker scored a goal with his hand. The head referee didn`t see it, but the referee behind the net noticed. The player got a second yellow card and left the field.

– How strong is the Croatian first league? How strong is the battle for first place, and is Hajduk near the top?

– Hajduk was a very strong team in Yugoslavia. Similar to Spartak or CSKA. But when the war started, there was not much money for football, and the team`s level went way down. Although I have to say that have very good sports schools in Crotia, and a lot of promising players are sold abroad. Right now Hajduk has players who will definitely leave the country, like Ivan Strinić and Ante Vukušić… The main goal of Croatian clubs is to sell off players. That`s how they survive. Croatia is a small country, there are only 4.5 million people there, like the Grazhdansky Prospekt district in St. Petersburg (smiles).

– Hajduk`s coach promised surprises. What do you think, what can he do?

– Honestly, I don`t know. On paper we`re the clear favorites. But on the field everything`s different. We have to play 100%. If we do everything right, then Hajduk has no chance.

– Will Hajduk be scared of Zenit?

– If we play well, then ya. We`ll see at the warm-up. The journalists, and the players, and the president of Hajduk all say that Zenit should be playing in the Champions League now. They know us and respect us. And even if they lose tomorrow, it won`t be anything bad for them.