Sergei Semak: "For managers the international break is always a problem"

The Zenit boss addressed the Alexander Kokorin situation and spoke about the upcoming game with Dynamo Moscow.
Sergei Semak: "For managers the international break is always a problem"
We have to ask the question. How do you feel about the situation in which Alexander Kokorin has got himself in? Will his absence affect the plans for the season, because surely you were counting on his return?

We were and we were not counting on him. As for what went on, no one can defend his actions, it's hard to describe in words, and you've all seen it clearly. I am glad that these events did not bring about any more serious consequences. Thank God no one died and no one was seriously injured. "Everyone makes mistakes and those mistakes should be punished according to the law. I hope Kokorin's punishment from the club and from the legal side will be proportionate, I would not the guys to be finished with football. Justice should be the same for all and we shouldn't judge a person by how much he earns and what his name is, that is wrong. The law should be fair in each specific case, as that is good for our entire society.  I would very much like the guys to continue to play football and that the lesson they have had should be enough of a  punishment.

How are things within the team? 

Injury issues are always present. Now there are several players who have been playing, who are questionable in terms of being ready for the next match and we are not talking about those who already had serious injuries. Today we will make a decision about who will go and who will not. For managers, the international break is always a problem, as some go and don't play, or train a little. The team is always a little unbalanced after the international matches. This is a challenge for the coaching staff. Otherwise, everything is in working well, we are preparing for the upcoming, very difficult match. 

Paredes, Mak and Mevlja returned later than the others from the break. What condition are they in?

Everything is alright with them. They returned later because their teams played later. All the international players got two days off after their matches. Today, everyone is here and everyone is in good condition. 

You will play against your old friend Dmitry Khokhlov. For you is this an important battle? 

No, the fact that this is a game against friends is not important. We are playing against Dynamo, a club that Dmitri is managing. Of course, friendships are friendships, and work is work. 

What are the dangers of Dynamo Moscow?

Many people have said that we are one of the contenders for the championship, but we are not stronger than any of the clubs that are fighting for the title, and all the other teams can play in any single match at our level. We are working hard and aiming to grow and play better. As for Dynamo, both in players and in ambitions, and in many areas, they are a fairly strong team that has potential. I think they have been a little unlucky and after analyzing their matches and we can see that they are not in the league position they deserve to be in, they have not the points they should have and are playing well.

Dynamo are in the top-5 in many stats and for attacking stats especially, should they be higher in the table? And the second question is Dmitry Khokhlov one of the most flexible trainers in the RPL, Dynamo often change tactics depending on their opponent.Will  that change how Zenitwill play, for example, with three defenders or five?

It is important and I have already said about their place in the table, yes they have fewer points if we draw parallels between the table and the quality of their play. As for tactics, each coach takes into account and understands what kind of players he has at his disposal. Dmitry also knows this. We have very good central defenders that can play in a three or back four. They all understand how to play with such a formation and they played quite a lot in this formation. Each coach is trying to do his best based on the capabilities of his team and the presence of certain players. 

How is Andrei Lunev? 

Today he will be checked over and I think he will be able to play, but we are waiting for confirmation from the medical staff that we will not aggravate his existing injury.