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Sergei Semak: "We didn’t take our chances in attack"

The Zenit boss spoke to the media after the Russian Cup exit to Arsenal Tula. 
Sergei Semak: "We didn’t take our chances in attack"

Unfortunately, we didn't manage to get the win today. We made a lot of mistakes in defence and we didn’t take our chances in attack. The team that makes less mistakes, scores more and wins. We could see that the players are at different condition levels, some have trained more and some less. But that shouldn’t have mattered regarding the result today.

Why did Yaroslav Rakitskiy take the set-pieces today? Were there other no options? 

I think they could have been better, although one of his set-pieces led to the goal. Some were better, some were worse and he can take them better. There were not many other options. Theoretically, Kuzyaevor Sutormin could have taken them, but our usual guys were out today.

What was your game plan today? How did intend to beat Arsenal?

At the beginning of the match in the first 10 minutes before the goal was scored, we controlled the ball well and looked good. After the goal, we stepped back and allowed our opponents to control the ball and play simple football. Defensively, and I am not talking only about our back four, but about the whole team, was far from at its best. We did not allow them to create many chances, but all our mistakes were big ones and that’s why we conceded two goals. We tried to change things, but this didn’t really help us.

Why were the substitutions only made in the 70th minute and why did you go with Krapukhin, Dzyuba and Erokhin in attack?

As for Erokhin, he played left midfielder instead of Mostovoy. Krapukhin replaced Kuzyaev and played as the second striker. Erokhin hasn’t trained much with the team and is only ready to play for 15 or 20 minutes now. Krapukhin is our only option to change things in attack and this is almost his first game for the first team, so we can’t ask too much from him. 

Did you make a mistake with your choice of goalkeeper today?

There was a good reason for today’s selection, Kerzhakov was not part of the pre-game warm-up. Kerzhakov is not fully fit so the options were Lunev or Odoevsky. 

Were you relying on long balls from Lovren at the end? And was this right?

I think this was the quickest option and time was running out. We lacked sharpness and the attacking players did not use these long balls well. If we had scored, everyone would have been happy with these passes, but as we did not score naturally, we are unhappy. 

Was the midfielder not at its best due to the absence of Barrios? They all seemed to be playing out wide.

These are different players, and every player has their own abilities for different positions. Barrios is a pure defensive midfielder who always protects the defence and is great at moving the ball forward. Ozdoev and Wendel, are slightly different players who do a lot of work for the team and join in attacks. There was a lack of interaction and teamwork today and yes sometimes they ended up on the flanks, which shouldn't have happened. We had to take risks and emotions were running high.

Dzyuba played the full match, although at the end of the training camp you said that he was not fully fit. Was that out of desperation or is he fully fit now?

We have a number of players who went through both training camps fine and some who didn’t for various reasons. Those who missed some training need time to get fully back, and need matches too. It is near impossible to not play for two or three months and then go back out there totally ready. 

You mentioned set-pieces and long balls, but why weren't there any medium or long range shots?

Arsenal defended quite deep and compactly and we didn’t have good enough chances to shoot from distance. There were moments when we overplayed the ball and should have found a way through.