Luciano Spalletti: “I work with a great team”

FC Zenit head coach Luciano Spalletti noted the high psychological quality of his players and talked about his team`s plans for the coming few days at the press conference after the match with Alania.

– When a team plays for a long time in the league without losing, as Zenit did, it`s always really hard to predict what might happen after the first lost, and how the team will react to losing, – Luciano Spalletti started his press conference. – I expected that my players would carry themselves like a great team, and that`s how it worked out. We played a great match, and didn`t let the opponent do anything besides the episode in the last minutes, when Zhevnov made an exceptional play. We scored three goals and earned three points. I knew that I work with a great team, and we found that out again today.

– Vladimir Shevchuk said that Zenit played at 40% of its capacity today. Do you agree?

– Then he should be happy. Otherwise his team would have allowed 8 goals. Zenit played the way it was supposed to today. We made some mistakes in a couple of attacks, when we returned to our half of the field. I`m really happy with the way my team responded to a difficult situation.

– Are you satisfied with Ionov`s play, and what can you say about Kanunnikov`s prospects? It seems like Maxim could play more often…

– They`re two different players. Ionov can cover the whole sideline from end to end, whereas Kanunnikov is a pure striker. I`ve already got footballers like Bukharov and Rosina who can play as strikers, and I need a player who can cover the whole sideline. I`ll take your opinion into account.

– Will the team put out its reserve squad for the match in Split? Is the match with Sibir more important?

– I`ll leave four or five players at home when we go to the match in Split. So that they don`t waste energy by traveling to Split. I need well-rested players for the match in Novosibirsk, five or six players who can play with Sibir. Unfortunately, I`m in a situation where there are players who don`t play, but that`s my job to make a choice. I don`t underestimate the match with Hajduk, and I`m not saying that a reserve squad will play against them. It`s just that those players who`ve played less will be on the pitch, and they`ll have the chance to show their skills. We`re going to try and get the result we need.

– How did you manage to get the team out of its shock after the loss in Moscow?

– Victory is important in any sport, but it`s even more important to be able to respond to a loss. And my team reacted very well. We`re not saying that we played poorly in those two matches. We just didn`t get the result we needed. Luck wasn`t on our side.

– Soon Zenit will play with CSKA and Rubin. Who do you think is Zenit`s main opponent, or do you think Zenit is its own main opponent?

– That`s more proof that things don`t happen for nothing in football. We didn`t win our last match, but neither did CSKA (smiles). I prefer to look at what`s happening in my team. How my team is reacting. My team played like real men today.