Semak to start at right full

Zenit head coach Luciano Spalletti spoke at his pre-match press conference about changes in the team’s starting line-up for Thursday’s match, predicting results, and the Anderlecht attack.

– Judging by our recent matches, I would say the team is in optimal form now, – said Spalletti. – But the secret to our success is always that the team be motivated, that it be full of emotion. That will be the key to success. As for surprises, I don’t understand why we should be preparing any surprises.

– What about the starting line-up, for example the starting outside backs?
– Semak is going to play right back.
– I was at a press conference not long ago in Denmark. The Copenhagen coach made a prediction before the match with Rubin, and it came true. Do you want to try doing the same?
– Unfortunately, I’m not so good at predicting results. We have a very strong opponent in this match. So it’s very difficult to predict the final result.

– Is this your first ever match against Anderlecht?
– Exactly.

– Is the Belgian club still one of the European grands?
– The club has a long history and a great name, and it's playing good football now. It’s playing good football, keeping the ball on the ground.

– Is the fact that Lombaerts is at the press conference just a pleasant gesture to the player, or does it mean that he’s going to play in the center of the defense?
– That’s a sign of respect to him, first of all. Secondly, Lombaerts is in good form, and can play the whole match, right from the beginning.

– All of the European teams want to buy Lukaku from Anderlecht. How about you?
– Lukaku is a very good player. He’s made a name for himself. I have enough top-class players in my attacking line though. And I want to keep the team I have for now.

– Jacobs, the Anderlecht coach, said that Zenit is the group favorite. Do you agree with that? Who will be your main opponent in the group?
– Everybody talks like that. Everybody calls other teams the favorites. They do that to put pressure on their opponents. But in general he’s right – we want to take first place in this group.

– Jacobs also said that Zenit is stronger than Athletic Bilbao. Would you compare Anderlecht to Auxerre?
– No, no. I don’t think it’s a good idea to compare them. Auxerre counter-attacks more, while Anderlecht plays its own way, trying to build attacks. They have a very strong line of forwards. All their players are well-prepared, and they play their own style of football. That’s why they don’t speculate on counter-attacks, and don’t wait. They play their own game.