— You returned to the club practice facility a few weeks ago. Which mode are you working in now? With the main group or individually?
— No, I`m going to wait another 1-2 weeks to start training completely with the main group. Now there`s going to be a slight pause, and then all join everyone. I hope I can play on September 15th against Terek.
— How do you feel now? Nothing hurts?
— All is good, but, of course, there`s much more work to be done. To get in shape, to get my muscles in order, but all in all I feel pretty good. I feel more and more confident running and dribbling with each new day.
— A lot has happened to Zenit in the last couple weeks, from the 5:0 demolition of Spartak to the 1:2 defeat to Rubin. How did you follow all that?
— I`m always at the stadium with my family. But what can you say about Rubin? We were just unlucky. We played well in the first half, but couldn`t score. And when you don`t score, you sometimes lose. Things didn`t go so well in the second half, the team lost its speed, and Rubin got its two chances. Ya, the first goal was scored on a penalty kick, and the second flew in on a long-range shot. That`s football. The opponent won, and picked up three points, but that`s OK. Zenit will still prove itself.
— After the first five matches of the season, a lot of fans suggested that Zenit is the strongest team by far in the Russian league. What do you think?
— Yes, but now we have a lot of injured players, and some players are a bit tired, and we have only young players on the bench. So we had a difficult day against Rubin. Djordjević came on, and improved our game, but we still lost. Now need to forget everything and think of three points in the game vs. Mordovia.
— The Champions League draw wll take place tomorrow. Zenit will have to play against one of the European giants. Who do you want?
— I don`t know, it`s very complicated. Of course I want to play at a big stadium against a big rival, but we need to think about how to advance. Barcelona, Milan, and PSG are all big clubs, but we can`t predict the result of the draw. I don`t know who to bet on. I just want to get to the play-off stage.
— There will be three different Portuguese teams in the group stage. Will it be good for Zenit to go to your homeland again?
— I don`t know. For me, there`s nothing wrong with going there. The most important thing for us, whether we get a good or a very good opponent, is just to go out on the pitch and win. If we don`t win, we don`t make it to the playoffs. So we need special confidence.
— Especially for you, after half a year without football.
— Ya, 7 months and 2 weeks, to be exact. I really miss playing! I hope that the next two weeks will go by real fast.
— The last question is about September 1st. Are you going to take your kids to school in St. Petersburg?
— Yes, of course. But not on the 1st. Probably on the 4th or 5th. The team will have several days off, and I want to go to Portugal or Turkey to get a little bit of sun. Then, when we come back, they`ll start studying. I know the tradition in Russia, but unfortunately we won`t be here on September 1st, so we`ll have to bring the flowers to school later.