– The press talks a lot about you moving back to Italy. Can you comment on that?
– I feel very good in Zenit. I haven`t received any offers from other clubs. I read the press. They wrote yesterday that I was in Milan, but that`s news written in the newspaper laboratory. I was here yesterday, in St. Petersburg. We went to watch a theater school performance, where my son performed. And just in general, there are a lot of bald people in the world, so maybe they saw someone else.
– What`s your motivation for next season, now that you`ve won all the trophies in Russia?
– People don`t live by memories in football. We want to continue to work with the same approach that we had this year, and we`re going to take with us the negative experience we had in the Champions League this year. This experience was good for us: we understood that our team has players who are strong as footballers and as personalities. Our players reacted to losing very well, and I repeat, we`ll take that experience with us to the next season, which will help us to become even better. As for my personal goals, I plan to work in harmony with those people with whom I worked this year.
– You`ve been working for a year in Russia now. What surprised you about Russian football, about our country? Were these pleasant surprises, or not so much?
– Nothing surprised me. As soon as I started to follow Russian football I got the impression that it`s a very good league. Russian football pays a lot of attention to players` physical strength and readiness, but there`s really good football hidden behind this physical style of play. Footballers really fight here, and therefore you don`t see many matches with high scores. Russian football can continue to develop if infrastructure grows too. Holding the 2018 World Cup can help Russia to develop its infrastructure. The Russian league is very attractive. There are huge distances between cities here, long flights, and a lot of interesting teams. This league can be viewed from various points of view, and I like this experience! I feel very good here. The only thing I did wrong was to put on these boots that I`m wearing. It`s so snowy out today.
– Should Russia change its existing limit on foreign players on the pitch?
– As far as this question goes, I completely agree with the club president. But I think that if there will be more foreign players in our league then we might lose sight of our own Russian players. We had the same problem in Italy. There`s such a team as Inter Milan which comes onto the pitch without a single Italian in the starting lineup. And we should pay attention to such facts. We have fantastic talents in Russia, but it`s very hard to find the right environment in which they can grow.
– Can you name your favorite football player of all time and your favorite team and football club whose organization and actions serve as an example to you?
– Player – Maradona. Favorite team – modern Barcelona, favorite club – Zenit.
– Anatoly Davydov, head coach of the youth team, said that two players from Zenit`s youth squad will practice together with the main side. Can you tell us their names? And why did you decide to let Anton Sosnin play for Samara next year too?
– As for the match that we`re preparing for now, Gigolaev is coming to the main team. I`m not planning to bring youth team players to Athens to put them on the field. We work all the time with Davydov, and some of the players are training with us. I know the situation pretty well and I understand who can help us. As for Anton Sosnin … I think Davydov should talk about him.
– Do you have enough players to be more successful in the Champions League next year than you were this year? And if it`s not a secret, where do you spend your vacation?
– The club has given me a first-side, and the trophies we won this year are proof of that. Obviously, any club needs to be bold enough to keep moving forward and to look to the future. And we should try to do so, including in next year`s Champions League. I still think that our team could have gotten to that stage. As for vacation... I spent it at home.
– What do you think is the optimal length of the breaks in next year`s season?
– It would be good if there would be two breaks during the course of the transition season. The length of these breaks should depend on the number of games in the league.
– Your portrait as a football coach can be drawn, but no journalists would try drawing your psychological portrait.
– Every person should have a private sphere, and it should stay that way. I think the front pages of the papers should have real footballers. It would be right to advertise the players, since they`re the ones who make results for the club. At the same time, when talking about the psychological portrait, I have trouble communicating: I always need an interpreter. I can assure you that I`m an absolutely normal person, and there isn`t anything in my life that could be on the front page of the news.