Evgeny Starikov: “I have to keep growing”

The author of Zenit`s game-winning goal in the team`s first Marbella Cup match admitted that he`s still not satisfied with his play, despite having fulfilled his task on the field.

- I only found out during halftime that I would get a chance to play, - explained the striker. – Marco said that I wouldn`t come on right away to start the second half, but that I should be ready for the last quarter of the match.

- Kerzhakov was replaced by Lazović to start the second half. Probably you weren`t expecting to get much playing time after that.
- Ya, of course, but I`ve been playing center forward a lot less lately. I`ve been playing more on the wing and as a second striker. In today`s match I came on as a second forward, playing more on the side. The main thing for these players is to finish off attacks down the wing, to be ready to step in for crosses. So I guess I fulfilled my task in today`s match.

- Was it scary for you to play against Lokomotiv, considering how they started using very rough tactics as the game went on?
- Ya, it was obvious in the second half that they started to play more rough. It`s harder to come on in such matches, but each team has its own style. If Lokomotiv plays rough, then we have to adjust to that. The main thing is that I did everything I could for my team to win.

- Spalletti said that the match result means nothing if there`s poor play on the field?
- Ya, that`s true. Zenit isn`t showing the level of play now that it had last season. But that`s normal for this time of the year. It`s not that we`re playing badly, but we need to improve with each match, and then things will get better. It`s also important to keep in mind that this was just the first day of our second pre-season practice session, plus we had a one and-a-half hour practice in the morning. I think I could have played better – I have to keep growing and growing. We could have scored so many more goals…