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Bruno Alves: Kerzhakov was simply spectacular

Zenit’s Portuguese fullback gave his views on the team’s first Europa League match, about when he started thinking about the match in Grozny, Chechnya, and about why the blue-white-light blues are a real team.

– I"d say that we played an excellent first half of the match. In the second half we tried to control the game, but our opponent got a goal anyway, and tried to put pressure on us. Nevertheless I think that we dictated the match, and that we played better and deserved to win. I’m not even talking about the chances we had to score a forth and even fifth goal. Let"s not forget that it"s never easy to play on the road, and that the way we played in the first half was just spectacular. That was exactly what we wanted – to win and take 3 points home.

– Did you have any special instructions from Spalletti at halftime? The team played much differently in the second half than in the first.
– We knew that Anderlecht would press us, that they would try to score right at the beginning of the half. We started to control the match more, because a three-goal lead is a big advantage. Unfortunately, we couldn’t score on the counterattacks we had, but we still took the match in the end. It’s really important to score three goals away. Kerzhakov was just spectacular in this match, and his play decided the game.

– Did you have any thoughts in the second half about the coming match in Grozny on Monday?
– No, not at all! During the match we only think about the match that we"re playing at the moment. Ya, now we know we have a match ahead of us in Grozny, and probably somebody is thinking about it right now. As for me, I’m going to start studying Terek on Saturday, when the team starts focusing on the match. That’s our method right now: we go from game to game, step by step. Our team is very strong, and we can go very far.

– We were counting the number of headers that you won in the first half, but then stopped. You won them all. How hard was it to fight against the Anderlecht attacks?
– Lukaku is a very strong player. We were watching what he can do, and got ready for his tricks. We have a strong defense, and we were very focused. That’s the way it should be. That’s what a team should do: together in attack, together in defense, and we all celebrate the goals. It’s awesome.

– How important was it for Zenit to win a European cup match. After all you probably haven’t forgotten the match with Auxerre…
– Of course! Each victory gives the team confidence. The fact that we were playing away from home made it harder. The Europa League is a serious tournament, and a good start makes its easier for us to be more confident and stronger in the future.