Mircea Lucescu: "This match will show who is best"
The blue-white-sky blue manager on Sunday's match with Spartak, the injury situation, the new stadium and the possibility of a change in course in the title race.
Novoseltsev as usual. Zhirkov started training two days ago with the group. For two days Lombaerts hasn't trained and has not even come to the base, he's felt bad. The same for Kerzhakov, he was unwell and has not trained with the group. The rest are all ready. Chernov has already played a full match for the second team and yesterday he rejoined us and is now training with the group. Plus, of course Fayzulin and Ryazantsev are not training with us.
Have you spoken with Shatov about his situation?
In my opinion, there is no conflict, it's not possible for a coach and a player to have conflict, the coach decides who plays and who does not play, I take responsibility for the result. This week Shatov looked very good, he trained well the whole week, this is a positive aspect. Most importantly, he did not have any pain, or problems with injuries. The team should not depend on one player, it must be a cohesive unit that solves problems together. All the players have are on the same level, if one does not play today, tomorrow he might. The championship is very long and we all win and lose together. The main thing is that the players know their roles and are very professional and serious about training.
As for the match, then, of course, this is a very important game. The level of individual skill or technique will not decide the match. This game is on the mental level. Who will be stronger mentally on the day will have the advantage. Which team will show more character, more ambition, they will win more battles and have the advantage. In this game there is nowhere to hide. Those who go out on to the football pitch should know how to play and be ready for the opposition and do those things that have been discussed. This game is like the championship, it can turn in a different direction if we win. There's great prestige to winning this game, if we don't then it will be very difficult.
Spartak are theoretically satisfied with a draw. Will they play a cautious game?
I do not think that in these games someone would think of getting a draw. Naturally, they will be happy with that but I don't think they will build their game for that and play for a draw. Defending or attacking, both teams will keep one thing in mind, to win this match.
If Zenit lose to Spartak is that the title race over?
Of course, it is clear that if we don't win, we know that that this will be the year of Spartak They have played with a good enthusiasm in all their games, they've had more luck, a lot of games they've pulled it back in the last minute, they've achieved positive results. There is only one thing that can satisfy the players, a positive result.
Rumor has it that you will hand in your resignation if you lose, is this true?
I would not want to conduct some dialogue about this. If you want me to do personal interviews, we'll do it.
If you do not mind, I will repeat the question of my colleagues. Are you not distracted by the rumors about your possible resignation?
I am here on the field with you now. I was invited to be the manager of Zenit. I take responsibility for each match, I choose the team and the game plan. Therefore, today I am here. At the moment the team is not doing worse than last season. Let's not forget about those players who are currently not at Zenit and they were leading in this team. I am calm and I do everything possible to help the club to play spectacular, better football and to help the players. It has not always turned out that way, unfortunately. It does not matter to me now, but tomorrow's game is important. After it we will talk and discuss further.
The next home game will take place at the new stadium. Will you be training there?
We wanted to do it this week, but, unfortunately, the conditions are still not ready for this and we could not train there.