Sergei Semak: "Given how full our fixture list is, the result is acceptable"

The Zenit boss on the draw in France, the status of Ivanovic and Dzyuba and the use of a new formation.
Sergei Semak: "Given how full our fixture list is, the result is acceptable"
It was a hard match to start and probably later on that influenced the pace of the game. Before we conceded the goal, we did not look in the best of shape. We then began to play better, including in possession. In the second half, we played better and managed to equalise. Towards the end we looked tired, but we had some good quick attacks in which we could have won, although, in my opinion, we didn’t have enough to win. Given how full our fixture list is, the result is acceptable. We changed players and in two days we have our next match, now we will prepare for it. 

Why did you choose to play with 5 defenders? And why was Mammana the attacking centreback, and not, say, Mevlja?

Because they have very strong wide attacking players so Nabiullin and Anyukov out would have had difficulty in coping with those players, so we tightened our flanks. And why Mevlya? This is the usual position for him. He has played it before, so it was easier to do it that way and based on the difficulties we've had and I have already listed, we decided what was right for Mevlja and he played very well. 

Zenit were on the back foot for much of today. Was that because of the home side or was it your intention to lull them in? How was it for you with the stadium being only 10–15% full? 

We did not apply any lulling tactics, it was more becuase our opponents were active from the start, they played quick and scored and owned the advantage. As for the attendance, we were not surprised, because we had watched their previous matches and unfortunately a very small number of fans attend their Europa League games. In their championship the situation is different, especially when the top team play there, so we were not surprised. 

Why did you choose Nabiullin and Anyukov for the wide players and not, for example, Mak and Shatov?

We started out this way because we had the opportunity to do so and we were considering the fitness state of our players during the match, if we hadn’t scored and we needed to attack more, we could have added more attacking players out wide. So yes, we had both options. But our more attacking players need to learn this tactical formation better, so as not to create any undue risks, especially when playing in defence. 

Did you give Dzyuba and Ivanovic a rest?

With Dzyuba, that is not true. We did not rest him, he's injured. 

Will he be able to play against CSKA Moscow? 

Tomorrow we will return home and then decide. While he did not train with the team, he did individually. Tomorrow we'll find out.

Were you thinking about the match with CSKA and was it a higher priority than the game in Bordeaux? 

I have already said that Dzyuba was injured. If we talk about Ivanovic, then we are closely monitoring him. Putting him in such a match after the games he has already played would have been a risk. He is very tired, so we simply decided not to bring him here and fly the four and a half hours back and forth so he could come on for 10–15 minutes. We decided to take care of him, he does a huge amount of work on the pitch and plays a lot, so he needed a break, regardless of the next opponent. For CSKA, we will begin to prepare from now on.