Roberto Mancini: "I'm looking forward to an open game and a very interesting match"

The Zenit boss spoke to the press before the last 16 Europa League clash against RB Leipzig.

Are Kuzyaev and Lunev fit to play tomorrow? Is there anyone else with injury problems? Excluding Mammana of course.

Lunev is ready for the match. We’ll make a decision on Kuzyaev on the day of the match.

Can Zenit add a replacement to the Europa League squad now that Mammana is out?

No, unfortunately, we cannot add anyone else. The registration period has closed and we cannot do anything.  We had to think about this earlier.

How do you assess the situation in this return match in view of the goal that you managed to score away?

This will be a very difficult match. At least as difficult as the game with Celtic. It's always difficult when you lose in the first game and you need to win in the second. I'm looking forward to an open game and a very interesting match.

You said that you wanted to get a goal scorer. What then was the point of singing Driussi for a lot of money and why is he not scoring as much as he did in Argentina?

I was not saying that we do not have enough strikers, but we need to score goals and the goals must be scored by the players we have. Speaking of Druissi, he is a good player, for which we really paid a lot of money for, but he has not scored for several reasons. Firstly, he is young and secondly, he recently moved from Argentina and he needs time to adapt. I believe that he has great potential and that Driussi will become a top striker in a few years time.

Why are Zenit not scoring? Most of the teams we play are parking the bus and defending with 10 men. In these matches Zenit must try to open their defences, but this is not happening.

This is the first time you’ve said it's hard for Zenit to play against teams that park the bus. We train daily and practice tactics, but why haven’t we learned to score against such teams?

Yes, we are faced with teams that are only interested in defending and just do not play football. They line up in front of their goal and do everything not to be beaten. It's not that we do not study their style of play, but in order to win against these teams, you need to have a certain set of players who can find gaps in their defence. We do not have such players,

Zenit are leading the championship in many attacking indicators. Why doesn’t this reflect the team's playing style and results?

This means that we play open and attacking football. We generally play football, as opposed to many of the other teams in the league. If I'm not mistaken, until the last round we had the best goal difference and were generally the best team playing at home. Yes, this is the direction that I want and we will continue to move in that direction.

How many spectators are expected at tomorrow’s match? You said it is difficult for you to play in the Russian league with defensive teams, is it easier in the Europa League?

We are expecting 43,000 fans tomorrow, perhaps more. Of course, it is much easier to play in the Europa League, because in this tournament all the teams play to win and everyone is going for the victory, in the Russian championship the first thing is not to lose.

Usually the Champions League is considered the important tournament, while the situation with the Europa League is different. What are your priorities?

We are a team that strives to win always and victory is the most important thing, regardless of the tournament. For me personally, the Europa League is more important, but this does not negate the fact that we are trying to win every match, both in Russia and in Europe. For me, both tournaments remain important and we will try to do our best in both.