Tomas Hubocan: I don’t know if I’ll be in the starting team now

Hubocan missed his first match in the starting team for a long time in Brussels. Tomas shared his impressions from watching the match on TV in a conversation with a “Sport” correspondent. In fact our conversation started with congratulations: the Slovak fullback turned 25 on Friday.

— I didn’t celebrate my birthday in any special way, I just brought a cake to the practice facility, — began Hubocan. — But in general I’d like to invite my teammates to a club or restaurant, to sit together in a quiet place and talk. If I get that chance after the match in Grozny, I’ll definitely take advantage of it.

— Have you received any gifts from your teammates yet?
— Not yet. Probably the guys are waiting until we all get together to celebrate my birthday (laughs).

— You didn’t play for the first time in a long time at Zenit’s match on Thursday in Brussels. What were your impressions watching the team on TV?
— In those situations there’s a lot more stress. When you’re on the pitch you can always release your nervous energy, since you’re constantly moving. But when you watch on TV, you end up worrying a lot more, since you can’t do anything to help your partners. I’m talking most of all about tough matches for the team. But with Anderlecht the guys showed their advantage from the first minutes, made a lot of good opportunities, and had basically already finished the game by halftime. So we gave the fans the chance to just enjoy football. And that’s a lot better than stress (smiles).

— What can you say about the Belgians?
— I think they’re a strong team. In the second half they scored one goal and had several chances to score more. They’ll still achieve something in the group stage, I’m sure about that. But Zenit managed to play a really good match this time, and took advantage of its best opportunities. In these cases you can’t envy the other team.

— Will it be hard to come on the pitch after missing a match?
— I don’t see any difficulties with that. First of all, I’ve been training all these days, not relaxing. Secondly, I’ll have a little over a week between matches as a result. We played a lot in that regime this year. And anyway, it’s not clear if I’ll even be a starter in Grozny.

— Why do you have doubts about that?
— The head coach takes the decision about that. All our players played extremely well in the last match, and they got a result. And it’s totally possible that the coach doesn’t see any reason to change anything. The starting eleven doesn’t often change after victories.

— Grozny is considered to be one of the toughest places to play in the Premier League. One of the reasons is the aggressive atmosphere in the stands which is transmitted to the Terek players. Are you ready for that?
— I’ve only played once in Grozny, and I don"t really have the right to make such conclusions. Last year the home team was ready for the match, and they had a real sporting anger about them. But I can’t say that match was especially rough. And I don’t want to say that we lost because of the home team’s aggression. We were in a tough situation in the match, then we got out of it, but lost because of our own mistakes. Who knows, maybe after this match I’ll have a different opinion… But I would like to just win the match without any scandals.

— Do you have any fears that the refs will help the home team?
— I hope everything will be alright. I don’t think it’s right to talk about that before the match.