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Luciano Spalletti: “Every match is a new story”

Zenit`s head coach talked about AEK, Shirokov, and Zyryanov as part of his traditional pre-match press conference at Petrovsky Stadium, and revealed the secret to working with players who are hard to get along with.

– AEK left the impression from its first match that they have a lot of strong, individually skilled players, – started Luciano Spalletti. – And I think the club is going through a rather difficult moment right now. But any team can evolve, and play better from all points of view. And I think that they`ll have a new team when they play us. After all, they changed their coach. They`re going to play differently and behave differently. So I don`t think it`s necessary to focus on AEK`s first Europa League match, where they beat Hajduk. We have to be ready for anything.

– Tell us about the functional state of your players. Should we expect to see Roman Shirokov on the pitch?

– Shirokov is preparing for the match, and is in my list of players. A few other players have some small problems, Semak, Ionov, Anyukov. We have to check on their status, but we`ll do that a little later. And we can`t forget that on Sunday we have yet another very important match in the Russian League. So I have to check the players` status keeping these games in mind.

– A number of media sources are saying that Zyryanov will leave the team at the end of the year. The club already denied that, but we would like to hear it from you too.

– I try to live day by day, to evaluate the information that we get each day. I don`t know what will happen at the end of the year. But if necessary, I can make a prediction for the future… As long as I`m in Zenit, Zyryanov can be here too. He already proved that he`s a great player and a good person too. I never get rid of players with his qualities.

– Zenit won by a big score in its last match, while AEK lost. Will that large score have an effect on Zenit`s players?

– I have a very experienced and mature team. My players know perfectly well that it`s not right to think that the match will be easy, or to be arrogant. And they know perfectly well that each match is a new story. If they want to beat AEK, then they have to know how to play this match.

– We`d like to know your recipe for working with temperamental players. You`ve coached such players in Italy and in Zenit.

– I don`t have any special secrets. I would say that football is a very serious and important profession. So to be successful in football you have to have logic, common sense, and professionalism.