Lunev and Kokorin answer the fans questions with Gazprom

The Zenit pair answered questions from fans during an online conference sponsored by Gazprom.
Lunev and Kokorin answer the fans questions with Gazprom

Alexander, how is your fitness and when are you planning to get back on the pitch? (Dmitry Tsarev)

Kokorin: I have been asked this quite frequently lately. I feel good and am getting stronger each day. I’m trying not to push things too much. Everything has been great and now I am working with the coaches as planned, so I will be back soon. It is hard to say the exact day, but it is getting closer and closer. I am constantly discussing my condition with Maria Burova [Zenit’s physical fitness coach]. In two weeks I am going to take some tests and they will tell how ready I am.

Sasha, did you improve your Spanish after recovering with Mammana? (Stas Pudelev)

Kokorin:  The guys are not really very good with English. They usually talk Spanish which isn’t easy for me. But it would be great if they and all the other guys in the team improved their English a bit. After all, we are frequently travelling to Europe and play many games there, so we really should speak English.

Andrey, how was it returning to action after injury? Were you worried? (Maxim Alexeev)

Lunev: It all depends on what kind of injury you have. Of course, you feel a bit scared of getting injured again. Regarding the injury in the Russia-Spain game? This issue was overplayed really, it is time to forget about it now. I have already said everything possible about this, so let us just move on.

Which of Zenit’s latest pre-season training sessions proved the easiest, hardest and the most for you? (Andrey Mikheev)

Kokorin: The current one was the hardest for me. All these months I have been working individually with Maria Burova, she is the toughest coach I have ever worked with.

Lunev: For me, it was good fun during the most recent training camp because I watched Sasha working and puffing away extremely hard there (laughing).

Kokorin: I guess, Sergey Semak has the easiest training sessions. By this I mean that we mostly work with the ball and that is interesting for the players.

What are the differences between the ways Sergey Semak and Roberto Mancini do their job? (Nikita Lukashin)

Lunev: I have already said during the press conference before the Yenisey game that now the goalkeepers participate much more in the team’s training sessions and this is great. Before we worked on saves and only cooperated with the rest of the team during tactic-lessons. Now we are finally working together with the others, which I like. All the guys come to the training sessions in an excellent mood and everyone is ready to work hard and devote themselves completely to our common goal.

When will Andrey drive a bus again? (Ivan Budachev)

Kokorin: Just call Andrey when it’s the next training camp.

Lunev: Yeah, just call me if you need a ride.

Sasha, you starred in ‘Fizruk’ (a popular Russian sitcom). How was it? Do you get any offers to take part in any movies? (Artem Stepanov)

Kokorin: I was in St. Petersburg when they filmed the Fizruk movie, which is out in the cinemas soon,  they called me to appear in it. But I was injured then so could not accept their offer. Yes, I do have offers, but do not feel like accepting them at the moment. I want to return to the pitch as soon as possible and not to do some unnecessary stuff. I do have any interest to try things in this area. As for Fizruk, I wanted to be a part of it, it’s an excellent series I think. But you must be professional in everything you do and make it interesting for those who will watch. They filmed everything with me in about five hours and that was it.

If a famous director called and said Sasha, we really need you here on the film set, who could you not refuse? Fedor Bondarchuk? (A famous Russian director)

Kokorin: I think nobody will call me (laughing). Some time ago I worked with Fedor, we made a TV-commercial. Maybe Pavel Khudyakov? (A Russian director). But he is my friend so that does not count. Spielberg maybe.

What about you, Andrey? Would you star in a TV show if offered?

Lunev: I could star in The Goalkeeper! (laughing). But seriously, no, cinematography and me? No way. Only in a horror-movie, as Artem Dzyuba might say.

Do you think it is possible that the Russian national team will be as successful at Euro 2020 as at the 2018 World Cup? (Andrey Nikishov)

Lunev: Well, first we have got to qualify. We should maintain the positive vibes we got at the World Cup. We have all the possibilities to repeat this success. Everything depends only on us.

Kokorin: It will be much harder this time anyway because the tournament will be staged not at home as the World Cup was. Although, some games will be played in St. Petersburg and Russia has a chance there.

What do you think about the news that Artem Dzyuba had his voice recorder for the Yandex Navigator app? (Evgeny Kharchenko)

Lunev: I already use it! I tried various routes on my way to the training ground to hear Artem telling me something like: ‘Destination found’. I couldn’t miss that!

Kokorin: I heard about this at the training ground. You know, I already have too much of Artem in my life and I already know the roads around St. Petersburg quite well, so I had not installed this app. Artem is around 18 hours out of 24, every day, he phones me all the time! So if I am listening to him in my car, I think my head will explode! (laughing). Andrey showed me the app, there are some cool phrases and jokes in it, so I would recommend it.

Andrey, what makes you happy most of all? Do you want to become a dad? (Alexander Aleksandov).

Lunev: I really do although the time has not come yet. What makes me happy? When we win and when we play well. To go out on to the pitch and to help the team. I am a happy person on the whole. Sasha makes me glad as well, he will be back in the game soon.

Kokorin: We all feel happy after we win. When winning against certain teams all of us are in a great mood.

Counter-Strike or FIFA? (Kapitan Serj).

Lunev: I prefer NHL and I also play Call of Duty now.

Kokorin: You are not playing, you are hopless! Every time I visit Andrey I see him get killed there. He’s lucky that in the game there’s an option to be revived quickly.

Lunev: That’s because I do not hide, but fight, I am like a lion! Did you see my stats? I am always on the top of the table.

Andrey, is it scary to be in goal when rival supporters are behind your back? (Stas Aleksandrenko)

Lunev: No it’s not, why should it be? Though, to be honest, once there was an away game which I did not like. Last year we were playing against Anzhi in Kaspyisk and all their fans were constantly  insulting me with all the dirtiest words. Why? What have I done to them? I have never heard anything like that. Even when we played against Spartak or CSKA Moscow it was better. But these guys… I even do not know what to call them. In such moments you really want to shout something back or even jump into the stands.

Sasha, have you ever experienced something like that? How to get over it?

Kokorin: All the time. You just have to get used to it. I think it will take a couple of seasons more and Andrey will overcome it. You should just ignore it. There is nothing you can do about it.

Has it ever happened to you that someone approached you on the street and criticised you as a player? (Igor Solntsev)

Lunev: Never.

Kokorin: Not as a footballer… There were such situations when a person approached me and said: ‘I think you behaved badly’. Then I ask him: ‘Ok, why do you think so?’. Then we may have a nice conversation and that person may then have a different opinion about you. He gets to know me better. After all, what is the point of approaching someone you do not like? You do not like me? Ok, then just pass by.

Alexander, tell us about your relationship with Dzyuba on Instagram. (Liza Buyan)

Kokorin: That is art! People send us things and we appreciate their work. People tag us on their photos, then we share on the app for all to see.

What do you usually watch on YouTube? (Fizik)

Lunev: Highlights from some football games, series trailers.

Kokorin: GazLive (A popular Russian talk-show on YouTube). I would gladly go there  to film something.

Do you have any traditions or rituals you follow before training? (Andstepan)

Lunev: We have a schedule now, each player has his own folder with a list of individual exercises.

Kokorin: That is a list with all the injuries you have had. Accordingly, you have to undertake some additional exercises. Maria Burova made up a weekly schedule for each player. 

Andrey, who are your heroes among goalkeepers? (Daniil Klebeko)

Lunev: I only had heroes in my childhood. Now there are some keepers whom I like, who can teach me something. In the Russian championship, Belenov, Dovbnya, Akinfeev, Guilherme, Evgeny Frolov… You may name any team – every keeper has his strong points. In my youth I admired Cassilas, Kahn, Buffon, Van der Sar, Boruc…

What’s the best movie you have ever seen? (Nikita N)

Lunev: Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind, Inception, movies based on Marvel-comics.

Sasha, have you watched the new episode of ‘Mission Impossible’. Did you like it?

Kokorin: We have got different opinions in the team. Artem [Dzyuba] said, that the movie was a total failure. Magomed Ozdoev argued that it was top-class. I also liked it. It looks absolutely fantastic. I would gladly watch it again.

Andrey, how did you like Tyumen? (Radya Tyurin)

Lunev: The city is amazing. The embankment is totally awesome.

What do you feel when playing against your former teams?

Lunev: There are some strange feelings, but it is hard to describe.

Kokorin: You keep some feeling of attachment to your former club and teammates. If you left your former-team badly, then you want to prove something, that they were wrong to let you go. If you left the club and everything was fine, you just play football. As it was in my case. I get strange feelings when you spent so many years with a team… The first game is of huge importance, then you just play and that is it.

What do you think about Golovin’s move to AS Monaco? (So Pro Games)

Lunev: It's cool. First of all, I would like to wish him good luck. He has all the necessary qualities to grow professionally and play on at an even higher level. Let's hope that he will do well. I think he will improve, progress and create a lot.

Kokorin: I agree with Andrey. That is awesome when guys from our league go to some European leagues. I am not sure about Monaco... I would not say that the French Ligue 1 is much stronger than our Premier League. If Golovin plays for this team and they progresses in the Champions League, perhaps this transfer will be a good springboard for him to move to the next strong championship.

What movie stars do you think you look like? Let Andrey say about Sasha and vice versa (Pavel Bushnev)

Kokorin: Well, for me Andrey is every inch Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp.

Lunev: Kokorin resembles Heath Ledger who played the Joker.