Luciano Spalletti: “It’s not that important whether you start or sit on the bench. The main thing is to win.”

Zenit’s head coach commented on the match with Amkar, and answered questions about the play of Kerzhakov and Burakhov, and admitted that he likes the snow.

– I`ll say the same thing as in the TV interview after the match, Luciano Spalletti started. – From my point of view, we played an excellent match. And we had a really tough opponent. This opponent, from their level of play that I saw today, doesn`t deserve the place they have in the league right now. As for dictating the rhythm, the speed of player movement – we forced them to break the rules, to be nervous. When they got the first red card, the whole match went as we wanted it to. Both of the red cards were fair. Naturally, the game became really hard for our opponent from that moment. Like I said earlier, our guys played very well today. I want to thank my players for the way they played, the way they fought, and controlled the pace of the game.

– What`s going on with Danny? And why does it take you so long to come to the press conference after the match? Can you answer that question?

– It`s our press service`s fault (smiles). They`re at fault: they tell me when to go. But just in general I like to be in the locker room after the game with the footballers, no matter how the match went. I don`t say that much, but I use an interpreter, so they have to listen to twice as much as I want to say. I like to breath the air in the locker room after the match.

– So what`s up with Danny?

– Any more question (smiles).

– I don`t have any other questions.

– (Laughs.) He`s disqualified. He`s got four cards.

– Tell me your opinion about Bukharov, who came on as a sub today.

– He played like usual, he fulfilled his role. He came to a strong team, with lots of strong players. It doesn`t matter if you sit on the bench or you start the match. You have to understand that the most important thing is to win, to get points for which they give trophies at the end of the season. Bukharov is an excellent guy, he works hard, and he cares a lot about his work. And he gave all he had in those 20 minutes that he played.

– You substituted three players from the Russian national team today. Is that because they`re tired, or did you have to strengthen the play at their position? Or did you want to prevent Shirokov from getting a fourth yellow card?

– Of course we think about everything together. We approach each question keeping all factors in mind. We try to make life easier for the team and the players. All of the guys who play for their national teams have been playing a lot of games lately. And we need them in the coming matches – the Europa League, the Russian Premier League.

– The English press is talking about interest in Kerzhakov there. You`re predecessor told Arshavin to go there. How will you act in this situation?

– No, I`m not going to tell him to go to the English league. We have an excellent league in Russia. It`s very strong, and interesting. I think that way even though some people write differently about the Russian league. There are many qualities here that you can`t find elsewhere. The English and Italian championships have a lot of games with big scores. Russian footballers have the mentality, the train of thought, that they have to give their all to the game. And I like that a lot, when players give it their all, play with hunger. I think Kerzhakov likes playing here and that he doesn`t want to leave. He loves Zenit, and he wants the best for this team.

– Was it cold for you without a hat on today?

– Finally we got some snow! Everybody was scaring me, but it was nothing. It snowed yesterday, and today.

– We heard that you like arm wrestling. And that it`s better not to take you on. Can you compare today`s match with arm wrestling? I mean the way you managed to break down your opponent, who was so strong and serious.

– I only know how to eat Italian spaghetti well (smiles). As for the match… it`s hard to compare it to arm wrestling. Amkar depends a lot now on their position in the standings, and fought really hard to improve that position. I think that the fans enjoyed the match. They played a great part and helped us a lot.

– What can you say about the coming match with Hajduk? Do you expect that the Croatians will play their best? And have you taken into consideration the factor of ultras?

– I`m expecting a tough match. I saw how they play, and I know they play well. At the same time I expect our players to do well. After all, if we win this match then with 9 points we`re almost sure to qualify for the next round. So we should win. As for the tifosi… I don`t know the Hajduk fans. And I hope that our fans will continue in their usual way, and will continue to help our team.