Sergei Semak: "We proved we wanted the win more"

The Zenit manager on the incredible win in Krasnodar.
Sergei Semak: "We proved we wanted the win more"
We started very well, we created many chances early on, but we failed to score them. After the goal we began to play worse and we allowed them to score their goal. After that both teams attacked a lot and we scored the second but then it seemed that Pereira’s amazing strike could have made the match into a draw, but then the ending showed that we wanted to win it more. After them scoring we managed to go ahead, we attacked and snatchd the win in a tense and dramatic encounter with a huge amount of chances. I think it was a beautiful game, and I am glad that we were able to win. 

I would like to start not with a question, but with gratitude. We haven't had feelings like this in St. Petersburg for a long time. Now a question about Rakitsky, he played at Shakhtar for a very long time but only scored three free kicks during all this time. Why is he scoring them here? 

Probably they did not allow him to take them so often as there were other players to take them. But we trust him and he has justified our trust. And not only him, but also our other guys who are doing well with set-pieces. Everyone is professionally approaching their duties and their training. Set-pieces and free kicks can be are boring to train at and no one likes it, but this is part of football. Today we missed a lot of chances in the game, but our set-pieces went well. 

Was today your best match of the season? 

In attack we created a huge number of chances. And in defense we have to look at the individual skill of the Krasnodar players. The game was quite open, the players went at each other with pace and technical ability. We had some very sharp moments, where the ball didn't end up in the back of the net somehow. I am pleased with how we played in attack. As for defence, we know our problems and we had a hard time there today. Some played better, some worse, There was some great play from Krasnodar too. This is football, it is impossible not to concede sometimes.

Dzyuba scored two today and Krasnodar were without Granqvist, who has been was a very uncomfortable defender for Dzyuba, was that a factor? 

No, I do not think so. I have already said that Artem now performs a slightly different role on the pitch. We now have Azmoun, who plays further ahead and Artem has to do a lot of battling. But at the right moment he is always ready to do everything we need, both to score and create. The whole team has a job, defenders, attackers, midfielders, the goalkeeper, everyone has his job. We plays, win and lose as a team. Artyem was great today. Not only with his goals but with his overall play and desire to do well.

Your team seemed as happy as though they had just won the Russian championship. How do you assess this win in terms of the table?
 
There is still a long time to go in the league. And the emotions you saw were not becuase of the win itself, but by how difficult it was at the end and due to how tough it was to win. We wanted to win, not just to defend a draw. We made changes to play more attacking and we deservedly won. Those emotions were associated with the game which was dramatic, interesting and with lots of chances. And to score in the last minute ... That's why we were happy. This is the type of win that that brings those  emotions. Regardless of the gap in the table or something else.

Today, Zenit played with passion. Is this what you want to see from the team? 

I have said many times that we have a lot of good players and my job is to create a team using their best qualities, to build them into a unit and we have done that. We have a task and we have our players, we all have to work to professionally fulfill our task. Despite some problems, we are scoring a lot and we want to play attacking football and to score more. If our team scores no less than Krasnodar, then our work will be done. Well done guys! We will continue to look ahead.

Can you compare the emotions today to the 8-1 win against Dinamo Minsk

I think there were more emotions with Minsk. Something fantastic happened there and we managed to score a lot of goals, although we let one in. That was such an event that that game will be remembered for a long time. Today, too, there were emotions, but the value of win against Minsk was higher. If we didn’t win that, we were out. The game had an incredible scenario around it, there was absolutely everything, so there the emotions were stronger. Now we have another 6 games to play and we have not won anything. But we must be able to enjoy these win. Today we deserved it, regardless of the table. So today we are happy that we are in the first place and that we have beaten a good team away in a very open and exciting game.