Luciano Spalletti: “We deserved a better result”
Zenit`s head coach said that his team deserved more than a draw vs. Kuban, gave Jamaldin Khodjaniyzov the maximum possible grade, and said that Kerzhakov played as well as the rest.

— We played quite slow in the first half, but we picked up the pace in the second half and played much better. I think we deserved a better result considering how we played after halftime. We deserved to win, because Kuban hardly created any chances at our end. But despite the disappointment I have from the result, I think we should point out that the team played well, and was well-organized, and had balance.

— We saw a match that reminded us of the game vs. Rubin, but Zenit kept losing the ball in the second half. Did you notice that it was hard for the team to play?
— Naturally, in moments when not everything is going well, when not everything is smooth, the guys can get nervous. They can make mistakes, and make too many mistakes. But the main problem in the second half was that we held onto the ball too long. The ball should have been moving faster.

— How would you rate Khodjaniyazov`s first match?
— In my opinion, Jamal played a great match, because we`re going to look at everything together. Let`s see, he`s a young guy, he`s 17 years old, and he`s starting for the first team against a strong opponent. He did make a few mistakes at the very beginning in simple passes, but he compensated them with two moments when he really saved the team in tough situations, when he broke up Kuban attacks. I personally give him the highest possible grade for his game.

— When can Vyacheslav Malafeev return to goal?
— You should probably ask this question to our medical staff. Unfortunately, Slava had a recurrence of the same injury several times, so you need to be patient and wait. Now the process is underway, and we hope that Slava will return to training in the near future.

— Sergey Romanov, who coached Kerzhakov a very long time ago, said that Sasha would come out and score. He didn`t score, but he had one of his best matches over recent times. How do you assess Kerzhakov`s play?
— I think Kerzhakov had a good game, like all the others, because any assessment right now is dictated by the scoreboard at the end of the match. If the match ended with the score 1-0, we would of course be talking in a different tone. I liked my team`s action on the field. Kerzhakov played great, just like all the other guys.