Roberto Mancini: "I'm happy that we won"

The Zenit manager spoke to the press after the game with Anzhi.
Roberto Mancini: "I'm happy that we won"

It's good that we practically gave Anzhi no opportunities during the whole game and they did not create any until the very last few minutes, when at the end they threatened our penalty area. But we managed to deal with these situations. 

Why did you decide to play three central defenders today? 

This is one of our formations. We can play with 3 or 4 defenders. Today we decided to play with 3 to stay compact. This is just one of our options and I'm glad that we won with it. 

Today, Lokomotiv won again and the gap is already 10 points. Are Zenit fighting for the championship, or is it already a fight for 3rd place?

I would say that now there is almost no chance of winning the championship. We lost that in the game with Krasnodar, we had to beat them and now it will be difficult to catch up with Lokomotiv. 

What happened to Lunev? Will he be able to play against Dynamo? 

I think he is now out until the end of the season. He has a rather serious injury. 

Daler Kuzyaev did not play today has he recovered from injury?

If he was ready, he would certainly have played today. His injury is quite common for players, he’s stretched his ligaments and usually recovery in such cases takes a week. He has already missed 40 days and so far I do not know why he has not fully recover. For us, this is a serious problem. 

I hope that your recent visit to Rome was fruitful. Since returning have you met with the leadership of Zenit to discuss the plans for the end of the season, and will the team be able to fulfil these plans?

My trip to Rome was pretty good. I went for several reasons. Firstly, I sometimes need to see my children, two of whom live there and we do not have many opportunities to meet. I also visited Kokorin and Mammana, who are recovering in a clinic in Rome. After returning, there was no meeting with the club leadership. I think that we have already talked a lot and now we have nothing to discuss. 

You recently criticised Zabolotny, you are most likely doing it out of good intentions and want to motivate him. But do not you think that psychologically this can also do harm?  

I do not think that I criticise Zabolotny too much. Do I criticise him? 

You have criticised all the forwards including him.

I never criticised him specifically. I said that we have problems with our attack and that we cannot score goals. Yes, for Zabolotny the RFPL is a new experience, he has not played much at this level and still needs time and a lot to work to improve. Tosno is his first team in this championship. It is impossible that a player can come from Tosno, with such little experience and immediately play well for Zenit. If there had been no injury to Kokorin, Anton Zabolotnyy would most likely be on a bench. Anton has trained, trained and trained to prove that he is worthy of a place in the Zenit team.

But Zabolotny may perceive your words as an attack on him.

To put it mildly, I do not care what Zabolotny thinks and whether he takes it personally. What's important to me is what both he and Driussi do in training, where I work with them and in matches. They need to grow every day, and I try to explain this to them. In football they do not have much experience yet, they are still young guys and don’t understand everything. Just as football is not understood by those who said that when Zabolotny came to us he would score 15 or 30 goals immediately. It's impossible. It is impossible to come here from Tosno and immediately play for Zenit at the highest level. To improve the Zenit forward line we needed to buy Messi or Ronaldo.