Sergei Semak: "The chasing pack are all very good teams"

The Zenit boss on Saturday's match with Krasnodar.
Sergei Semak: "The chasing pack are all very good teams"
You've set a new record for goals from freekicks. Are you practising this in training and who is responsible for them? 

We have it divided by role, someone is responsible for freekicks analysis and preparation and others for execution. We sit down and discuss together before the match and work out what we will do in the game. We try to work them out during training if certain things can be done, from what we learn in training, we choose several options to try in the match. There was a period when it wasn't working, now we are doing it better. I will not reveal our secrets. There are people who have certain tasks in our coaching staff and they prepare everything in training and have it ready for the match. 

Do you agree that Krasnodar are in a slight decline and why is this? Is their system of play not suiting the Spring calendar?

I do not think that there is any system. I've said before that a teams good tun has to end sooner or later. All the teams that are fighting for the championship go through cycles and some are playing great and other less. You can't go through the whole season without suffering some bad periods. The winner is the team that minimises these bad periods. 

Regarding yesterday's UEFA Champions League matches, is Russia ready for VAR? Do we need to implement this system in the Russian Premier Liga?

It's been needed for a long time. There was the question of being technically ready and having the capabilities at the stadiums and the right people to work with the referee at the monitors. VAR is wanted and needed and having it would be absolutely the right decision, the sooner it happens, the better. Even after yesterday's game, everyone admits that the result was right and deserved. 

It is not a question of not trusting the referees. It is impossible to see for the linesmen for the sideline if there was an offside or not at the moment when Liverpool scored. It is physically impossible to see the moment of the pass. If there is an opportunity to help the ref, this is a plus for everyone and for the referee as well. They will not bear such a burden of responsibility for any mistakes that happen. To watch the speed at which the  players move and the moment of the pass, is very difficult. Many would agree that VAR, especially here, is very necessary. 

Did you consider buying Dmitri Skopintsev, who left Rostov for Krasnodar in the winter? 

No, it was not considered. At the moment, we have two players in this position. As for further transfers, we will discuss them at the end of the season.

Who do you think is the most dangerous Krasnodar player? 

They have a good squad and we should highlight the youth programme at Krasnodar and the work of the club's management. The players are chosen according to tactical requirements and when one leaves, another come to replace them.

As for playing qualities, Martynovich and Spajic are a good defensive pair who have been playing well in defence. If we talk about their attack, we can look at Gazinsky, who plays a big role in the transition between defence and attack. Charles Kabore is one of their main players. As for moving forward, Mauricio Pereyra is unrivaled in our league in terms of quantity, he is a top player in my opinion. Klasson is there for dribbling and unusual play and has scored a lot of goals. Wanderson has perfectly adapted to Krasnodar's style of play and is in good shape. The same was Ignatyev. Ari, who will be back soon after the injury. They have fast technical players with good shots. You can talk about all of them.

Everyweek, the situation just below you is changing, are you watching them or you don't look down?

We look at the table, but we do not look down. As for the chasing pack, then, of course, it is difficult psychologically to be in the first place all the time. It is always easier to catch up and not only in football, but in other sports. We have a difficult fixture list ahead of us with three away matches with our competitors. Every game is tough and we have some pressure on us. We try to build on our lead and are preparing for the next game. Now is the time when everyone needs points even more and every team have their own targets. We are watching our opponents at every round and soon it will become more or less clear who is our main competitor and who is not. The chasing pack are all very good teams.