Roberto Mancini: "We played better in the Europa League than we did last season"

The Zenit manager spoke to the press after the draw with RB Leipzig in the UEFA Europa League.
Roberto Mancini: "We played better in the Europa League than we did last season"

Whats the situation with Kokorin and his injury?

No diagnosis yet, we’ll know only tomorrow.

Zenit are out of the Europa League and failing in the Russian championship. Do you have any concerns about your future at the club? 

Personally, I haven’t thought about it and it's absolutely of no importance to me. As for the performances this season, as far as I understand, We played better in the Europa League than we did last season. I think we played very well in Europe. We went to some of the best teams on the continent, very strong teams and beat many of them. This time we also played a very tough team in RB Leipzig, they have a lot of good, young players.  Unfortunately, today there were times when we were unlucky, but it's football and that happens.

As for the Russian championship, to have a funeral, you need to have a dead body. There are eight matches ahead and we are ten points behind. So let’s wait and see. 

Other than luck, what did Zenit need to get passed RB Leipzig? 

This is football and we can’t change it. We have to cope with those defeats in which bad luck played a significant role. For example, we were without Kuzyaev and Kokorin, who was injured at the very beginning of the match. I also have a question for you, who is the best striker we have now? 

At Zenit there are no great strikers, looking at the results.

If Kokorin, the one who’s scored the most goals for us, doesn’t get injured in the second minute, then we might not be talking about bad luck? Three minutes after we saved the penalty, we had a 100% chance to score when Driussi played in Zabolotny. 

Considering the injuries to Mammana and Kokorin, you are running out of options for your starting lineup. Do you plan to use young players more often? And how do you plan to spend time the next 15 days before your next match?

You try to get me to list my excuses, but my answer is yes, we are in the situation when we will use our young players.

As for the second question, it’s the international games and five, six or seven players will stay with us, the rest will go to their national teams, so we will not be able to do much. The only thing we can do is hope for the quickest possible return to full fitness of Kokorin and Kuzyaev. 

In the life of every manager there seems to be these main points: The result went against use, poor performances and journalists ask stupid questions. When Luciano Spalletti said this Alexei Miller spoke with him. Do you expect to be speaking with him?

Actually, I do not expect anything. I'm focused on football. We went out of the Russian Cup and have gone out of this competition over both legs. Perhaps, we do not have the squad that could have made it to the end, but in this competition we had to go further. We are behind in the championship and have eight matches ahead of us, we must deal with that. 

Will Kokorin join up with the Russian team? 

We will establish the exact problem in the next 48 hours, but I think that he will not go to the national team, because even if he has a sprain he will miss at least a week, he needs at least a week to recover.