Sergey Semak: "There are seven or eight RPL teams who will be very difficult opponents"

The Zenit manager on the upcoming game with Akhmat Grozny, the situation in the RPL and the current state of the team.
Sergey Semak: "There are seven or eight RPL teams who will be very difficult opponents"

Do you agree with the thought that Akhmat are good at home, but not so good away?

No, I don’t agree. It’s always more difficult to play away and that’s for any club. It’s too early to say who will be better home or away during the season. Of course, playing at home is better because of your support and it’s your pitch. As for Akhmat, the spine of their team is the same as last season. Some important players did leave, but others have come in and their ambitions are high and they want to get good results. As Alexander Erokhin said, matches against Akhmat are always tough. 

Who is definitely out for the game with Akhmat? How are Driussi and Malcolm? Regarding the Brazilian, is there any injury news.

Shatov is definitely out and will continue to have treatment. Driussi will not play due to the injury he received in the last game. With Malcom the situation is not clear and his taking part in the match is in question and we are trying to understand the level of injury. 

Akhmat play a compact game and give little space. How will you deal with that? 

They do try to play compact and high, they are not a team that constantly defend and they play aggressive, quick, passing football. We have to play and think quickly, aggressively. Then we will be able to attack. But it’s easy to say in words. 

On Monday, Luka Djordjevic left the club, did he not have a chance to make the first team?

This season there would be chances. But there are difficulties for the following reasons, his contract was up at the end of the season and it was financially right for the club to let the player go now. Of course, he would have chances and I understand that he wants to play. Our forward pair look very good, so getting in the first team right now would be difficult for Luka. It is a pity for him he’s gone as a person and for footballing reasons as he could have be useful for us. 

Medvedev said that more players will come, either attackers or in defenders. What is your priority?

There are a number of transfer rumors but I do not want to comment on them. We are ready to strengthen in any positions where we can find a player who is better than what we have. We are looking for one and we look at it with the limit, our situation and the price involved. If we let someone go and take the right player in return, we will continue to improve the squad and our financial situation. 

How do you like the current RPL season? It seems that the teams are playing more attacking football than usual.

For now, yes, but closer to the middle of the season, when the league standings become more or less clear, then the situation will change. Both Krasnodar and Spartak have had excellent transfer windows and CSKA have matured, they have a lot of good young players, plus they have retained Vlasic. Dynamo have also had an excellent window, so things look good and there are now more competitors. In my opinion, the same five teams will be battling for first place, plus there’s now Dynamo Moscow, who I think, will finish much higher. The season has started well and Rostov also look good, they have some great players who can decide the outcome of a match. So there are seven or eight teams who’ve brought players in and who will be very difficult opponents. It will be tough with others too. 

How do you rate the physical state of the team at the moment?

Everything is absolutely fine regarding the team's physical state. Some are looking to improve their physical condition and some needs to get match fitness. We continue to have some serious training session and are not slowing down. We are preparing for each game and continuing to get better, because by September we won’t have as much opportunity to properly train.