Sergei Semak: "We understand just how tough a match this will be"

The Zenit boss before the Russian Premier Liga match with Sochi.
Sergei Semak: "We understand just how tough a match this will be"

Sochi have a new team. How difficult is it to prepare against such a side? Does the fact that four former Zenith players play there now help? 

It doesn’t help. Their team has many new players and they have adapted really well to the system they played against Spartak. This seems the best tactical formation for them. We have some knowledge of them and the players. We understand just how tough a match this will be. 

In the first two rounds you are playing newcomers to the RPL. How difficult is it to play such teams? Is there a big difference between Sochi and Tambov?

There are many differences, especially their tactics, if Sochi play against us like they did in their first match. The first games always have a nervous atmosphere, which is understandable: everyone is excited and wants to start well. The first matches of the season are difficult for any team. 

Lunev has made some mistakes this year, are there any reasons for it? We saw it in Qatar, in the Super Cup and against Tambov. Why is he not progressing? Do you think about changing your goalkeeper?

Over the change of the first number we do not think. You gave only three examples for this year. In this calendar year, we don’t remember more mistakes in the game of Andrey. Nothing bad happens. Everyone is mistaken. Lunev - number one, at the moment it is. Let's see what will happen next, based on the state of Andrey and his competitors. 

What can you tell us about Mammana and his prospects of getting in the starting lineup?

Some are more ready than others at this stage. We won’t go the whole season with the same 11 players. He is training and does that well and will prove he should be playing. Some positions it’s easier to make a choice, some it’s more difficult, especially due to the limit. Competition is not always fair. 

Are you still monitoring Kokorin? Do you expect him to play for Zenit again?

It is difficult to keep an eye on him as we have no access. He has repeatedly said that he would be happy to get back quickly and sign a contract with the club, to help the team. 

Will we see Santos and Zhirkov on one flank? Can Douglas Santos also play in midfield and how is Barrios? 

I like the options we have on that side. We may see them in other positions and Barrios is in full training and ready to play. 

Can you comment on Baburin’s move and the possible return of Vasiutin? Is it important for you to have a Zenit academy graduate for a goalkeeper?

It is important that we have a graduate goalkeeper in waiting, you need to take into account changes in the rules that start next season. There is only one issue regarding Egor and thats the lack of match practice. To fight for the first number, you have to play in official matches. We will continue to follow him and we have the option to buy him back. I would be glad if does well this season and returns in a year. In the near future we will deal with the question of our reserve goalkeeper.