The RPL starts in a few days. How ready are your team?
Nothing has drastically changed in the week since the Super Cup. Some players have been training more to improve their conditioning and other players are ready for the first match and to start of the new Russian league season.
What’s been more difficult for you, your debut season as Zenit manager or this season as you look to defend your third consecutive title?
There are always different difficulties and problems and they are completely different. In the first season, the team had other problems, now we have others that need to be dealt with. There will always be issues and problems of some kind.
When will Wilmar Barrios be back?
He will arrive here tomorrow.
Your first match is away to Khimki, how do you rate this pre-season? It seems it’s not gone well for them.
I do not see any issues with their pre-season. Results of games in pre-season are all part of getting ready. Khimki are a very tough team as you can see from the results last season, especially in the second part of season. Igor Cherevchenko has had a good effect of them and they had some very good results. It’s wrong to think they’re not ready for the new season and we’re expecting a very difficult match.
It’s usual to say that at the beginning of the season your team is under pressure, but Zenit didn’t appear to have any pressure on them in the Super Cup match. Have you already gotten over any pressure?
What can I say? That match was tough in the first half and our movement wasn’t enough, we were better in the second half. We weren’t that imbalanced, some players looked better than others as they’d had a full pre-season. We’ve give others time for them to gradually improve their fitness and I can't say that that game was perfect for us.
How many days off did the team have after the Super Cup? How has training been this week?
Usually we have one day off after a game, but Slava Karavaev requested an extra day and we have it to him and the team (smiles). Most of the players got two days off, and then it was back to training as usual.
What do you think of the new ball the RPL will be using this season? What do the goalkeepers think?
The only difference is the colour, so we don’t have to worry about them.
What news do you have about another goalkeeper joining the club?
So far there is no new information. We have the same squad and everything is as it was.