Sergei Semak: “Not many teams in the RPL are able to defend like that”

The blue-white-sky blue’s head coach on the upcoming game with Dynamo Moscow.
Sergei Semak: “Not many teams in the RPL are able to defend like that”

Will Malcom be in the starting XI this Saturday?

We will see. He only played two games during pre-season and it was 45 minutes in each, and a little bit with Krasnodar. It’s hard to say whether he’s at his optimal physical conditions as yet. I think he’s ready, but we will decide how long he can play, whether coming on as a sub or being in the starting XI.

Today is the transfer deadline day in England. Can you confirm that Dzyuba is here and that he’s staying?

Dzyuba is here, training with us. You will see him in a few moments, unless something unexpected happens on the way to the football pitch.

What do you think about Dynamo? Last season they played more defensively, and managed to beat Zenit on home turf. Are they changing their tactics?

In terms of defensive play, they are a very well organised team. This season they are more aggressive in attack. In terms of working hard and discipline, not many teams are able to defend like that in the RPL. With the arrival of their new players, their attacking capabilities are now more varied. It will be a tough game.

How is Smolnikov doing? Is he ready to play?

Yes, he is ready. Before the game with Krasnodar, Igor only trained twice after quite a long break. Now he is training properly and is 100% ready.

Barrios has three yellow cards and is on a verge of a ban, what’s the solution to this issue?

I don’t see a problem here. Wilmar is aggressive and tough, sometimes that leads to yellow cards. It’s not a big deal. It’s not a question of discipline, but his style of play and the referee's decisions on such fouls. If he gets another yellow card, a different player will play in his position in that game.

Roman Sharonov mentioned that you’re his best friend in football. Now you’re about to face Hohlov’s team, with whom you have a great relationship. Are there any additional emotions in games like that?

There are definitely no issues. Dima Hohlov and Roma Sharonov are my very close friends both in the football world and outside of it. Life is life, and work is work. I am happy for Hohlov, as he is now able to get the players he needs to make the team stronger. I’m happy for Sharonov too, he’s had a great start. I am extremely pleased for both of their accomplishments. Everyone needs a win, but life is life and work is work. It doesn’t affect our lives at all.