Sergei Semak: "Everyone who goes on the pitch will compete"

The Zenit boss on tomorrow's game, possible starters and Azmoun's condition after the Asian Cup.
Sergei Semak: "Everyone who goes on the pitch will compete"
Fenerbahce have already resumed their season and played several official matches in 2019 and you have not played since the beginning of December. What are your expectations from tomorrow's game? Can you compete? 

I think that of course we can and must compete. As Branislav Ivanovic has already said, both of the teams that will be on the pitch have both advantages and disadvantages. The lack of official matches is a minus for us, but, the game will show if we are ready, everyone who goes on the pitch will compete. We have done everything to prepare and to be in good shape. 

The head coach of Fenerbahce has said that he expects a good atmosphere from the fans tomorrow. What can you say about this?

We know that the fans of both us and Fenerbahçe are good and that they can help their team. The atmosphere in the stadium is here, but we have to play and enjoy our football. In such conditions, when you can feel the heat from the atmosphere is nice for everyone. 

For the last two years, Zenit have lost the first match of the spring. Do you think there is a certain trend?

I think that every new game is a new story. Yes, Fenerbahce are in good shape and have played official matches and their squad is balanced. Our situation is a bit more complicated, but there are no unsolvable questions. We know our problems, the new players joined us not so long ago and it is never easy for them to become part of the team. We have done all we could to prepare and we will give our all to play well. 

In the two final matches at the training camp, you used Marchisio in the centre and Driussi out wide. Is this a plan for the next two weeks? Is this to play through Dzyuba? And was it difficult to prepare for this match, given that they are missing a number of key players in their Europa League squad?

We watched our players in different positions including Driussi and Marchisio. Whether the players you saw will be used in the upcoming matches, we'll see tomorrow. Regarding team selection, we have certain information and enough players in the central zone. The situation with the flanks is much more complicated; here the choice is not so big. To answer your second question, we also could not declare Rigoni, because at this stage additions are limited to three players. The same thing has happened to them. So we both have certain difficulties. Let's see who will play tomorrow and I hope they will play as they should. 

How is Azmoun's condition? It is unlikely that he is in the best shape, given he's been at the Asian Cup.

I agree that he needed to rest after the Asian Cup. He was there a long time and played a lot of matches. We tried to give him the maximum time off and then he arrived. There is a chance that he will play and we will take the final decision tomorrow. But I think he is able to play.