Everything was going well for us in the first half, but unfortunately in the second half we conceded early and the red card changed the game. That made it difficult to go for the win.
In the first half Zenit played alright, but in the second it turned into a nightmare. What happened after a good start to your campaign? Did you know the score in the other game and relax?
Regarding the result, we could not relax. The problem was the mistakes. We conceded 2 goals after being down to 10 men, We were playing away against a good team, so we didn’t count on anything.
Were you watching the Lyon v RB Leipzig game?
No and I do not see any connection between that match and our result. The problems were our mistakes and the goals we conceded.
Did Erokhin have a problem in the first half have a problem? There was a good moment with Dzyuba out wide when he made two mistakes. Did you think about replacing him earlier?
Erokhin did well with set pieces which Benfica do well, they have tall players and they know how to use them, we needed him and if he played badly or not, I do not think we should focus on just one player. The whole team played poorly and we will not look to blame anyone.
Was this result because Benfica played well or Zenit played badly?
Of course we made mistakes and we have to give credit to Benfica. We gave them opportunities to score, attack and the opportunity to play their game.
People are saying that this is a disaster for Zenit. Do you agree?
Yes, such a result is not good for us, but it is not a disaster. After a rather long time away from the Champions League, we’ve learnt how difficult the competition is. We gave it our all to get out of the group. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. We will prepare for next seasons competition and we will come back stronger. But it is not a disaster.
You were missing four first team players today, did this cost you?
Of course, Rakitskyi is important too us and the other players coming in didn’t play very well today and made a number of mistakes, simple mistakes in simple situations.
This is the first time in some while that Zenit will be without European football in the Spring, will this alter your plans for the Winter break?