Luciano Spalletti: "All of the coaching staff members are very important to our team"

Zenit`s head coach talked with journalists as part of the traditional pre-match briefing in the club`s Udelny Park practice facility.


– As you know, these are my assistants. Unfortunately we are missing our physical training coach, – said Luciano Spalletti. – He`s away now, and had to leave the team. I`ll take him with me to the press conference before Anderlecht. Today I have with me Marco Domenichini, Daniele Baldini, Nikolai, Mikhail, Vlad and Igor. I know their names (smiles). All of the members of the coaching staff are very important to our team, and their role is crucial. Their merit in our victory is much greater than my own, so I`m not going to answer questions myself at the press conference. My assistants are going to answer. But I can say one thing: those people who doubted that my players really wanted to play against Rubin, who wrote that they don`t take the match seriously, even though we tied 2:2, should write the opposite.

– You have your initials on your practice uniform?
Nikolai Vorobyov:
– Yes. When the uniforms are sent to be washed, it`s easy to mix them up afterwards. So our uniforms have our initials on them.

– Is today`s press conference ex-prompt on the part of Luciano Spalletti?
Mikhail Biryukov:
– No, we knew that he would do that.

– Who will play in goal against Krylya Sovetov?
Mikhail Biryukov:
– All three of our goalkeepers are healthy, and practiced together today. We`re going to discuss with the head coach who to put in goal. We`ll decide before the match. All three goalies are in good form, as Dmitry Borodin proved, when he played in the match with Rubin after not having played in a match all season, and played confidently.

– Vladislav, happy birthday. What traditions does the team have for celebrating birthdays?
Vladislav Radimov:
– The team congratulated me in the usual way. The head coach said some words and the players gave their applause. I personally brought food for us (smiles).

– In your opinion, is Luciano Spalletti used to playing on snow?
Nikolai Vorobyov:
– He already saw snow on the field in March, and saw what kinds of fields we have in Russia. He saw the quality of the pitch in Tomsk, or even in St. Petersburg, and it was no surprise to him that we have to train and play in the snow.

– Who decided not to go to Athens to practice before the match with AEK, and to practice in Petersburg instead?
Vladislav Radimov:
– We talked about it, and took into account the players` opinions. They won the right, they got first place in our Europa League group, won the Championship, and will be happy to train from here.

– How do you solve the problem of what language to speak in?
Marco Domenichini:
– That`s the merit of the players for the most part, on the field we often use gestures. We`re all getting used to it.

– Do you have the feeling that all of Russia is cheering against Zenit? Or do people from Russia`s regions support the team?
Mikhail Biryukov:
– They support us. There are more and more people who come to Zenit away matches from other cities than Petersburg.

– Who can`t play in the match with Krylya Sovetov?
Igor Simutenkov:
– We won`t have Igor Denisov and Vladimir Bystrov because they`re disqualified, and Alexander Kerzhakov and Roman Shirokov won`t play either.

– What can you say about the status of Tomas Hubocan?
Igor Simutenkov:
– He`s practicing, but it`s tough for him, he missed a month. He`s getting ready.

– Are you satisfied with the way the Ethics Committee punished Spartak`s representatives?
Igor Simutenkov:
– I don`t know. If you want to take away stress, be ready to pay half a million (smiles).