Ariel Jacobs: “The main risk for us is Zenit”

Anderlecht’s coach admitted before the Europa League group stage 5th match day that it will be cold at the match, and noted that the team has to concentrate as much as possible to get at least a tie.

– Our colleagues are interested to know if the match will be played or not. What’s preferable for you – to play in -15 or to postpone the match?
– I’m a coach, not a referee. I don’t take that decision. Twenty years ago, when I was a referee, I would have made a choice. But I can’t now.

– Have you seen the field? What are the conditions like?
– It’s cold. It’s just going to be cold.

– What are the risks when playing on such a field? The doctors say that it’s much easier to get injured on a field like that.
– Of course the main risk for us is Zenit. There’s always the risk of getting inured. We’re just going to play.

– Who didn’t come for the match? Who can’t play due to injury?
– It’s not so hard to say when I have the list of footballers, the official UEFA sheet, in front of me. We have a lot of injured footballers, and many who are healing. There are also two players who I couldn’t take because of visa problems – they’re too young to get the visas.

– Lukaku didn’t play in the match with Charleroi. Are you expecting him to play tomorrow?
– I always say that the team should be what it is.

– How do you rate your players effort in the Russia-Belgium match?
– I didn’t watch that match.

– You’re more famous as a tactician, an organizer of defense. Will you make any changes as compared to the first match with Zenit?
– I have a lot of respect for Zenit, and for all of its players. Zenit has been celebrating for three weeks already, making stripteases at the stadium, but the club remains very focused in all its matches. It’s a smart, confident team, A good example is Zenit’s recent match in Split, where the team was ahead 3:0. That shows Zenit’s strength. Besides all the problems that we’re going to face due to Zenit’s strength, we also lack balance in our own team. In my opinion Zenit is looking really good in the Europa League, and isn’t where it should be. It’s place is in the Champions League, where it would be playing if it hadn’t made a disappointing mistake in the match with Auxerre.

– Considering Zenit’s strength, it would be good for you to take one point from this match. But is that important if the last match will be the deciding one?
– Everybody says that the result is really important. It’s too bad that we lost points in Split, and in the home match with AEK, making the same mistakes again and again. The result becomes more and more important with each match, and that’s normal.