Chelsea are the reigning Champions League winners. Does this have any impact on you and the players before tomorrow’s match?
It shows the strength of their team. They were the best in Europe last season and now they are one of the strongest clubs with an excellent squad, they are one of the best teams in Europe.
Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku is in good form. How have you prepared your defence for this match? Will you focus on him individually? Will it be difficult to stop it?
We will study and analyze his game, Chelsea’s and that of each player separately and in detail. We’ve had very little time between this match and our last Russian Premier League match. Our task now is to fully recover and be ready. Today and tomorrow we will have the chance to get to know him better.
Who will definitely not play tomorrow? Has Wilmar Barrios travelled?
Barrios is not here and he cannot fly under the current coronavirus restrictions. Ozdoev, Karavaev and Lovren have also not made the trip, so these three players are definitely out for tomorrow. With regard to Barrios, there is a chance, today there was a decree that allows certain people to come into the country after 4 am. So we will know closer to lunchtime if Barrios will arrive and be available for us.
How have Barrios and the Brazilian players reacted to the news that they wouldn’t be able to play?
This situation has been very unusual and some of the restrictions on the players has been unnerving. The guys have had to go through a lot of worry about this but the club’s employees and the football federations managed to sort things out. The players did suffer and this was not good.
Do you see any weaknesses in the Chelsea team?
I think Chelsea have no weak points, they are a very good team and there’s a reason they won the Champions League. Chelsea are the strongest type of team that deals with any weaknesses and makes great use of their strengths. They have strengthened their squad well and are a team that’s improving and becoming even stronger.
Will you be happy with a draw, or are you only going for a win?
Every team always plays to win and we need to do our best to get the win. Let’s see how the match goes.
What are the club management’s aims for this you in this UEFA Champions League campaign?
We’ve had no conversation with the management about our aims.
Considering all the players you’re missing in the centre of the pitch, if you had such an opportunity, would you play Anatoly Tymoshchuk tomorrow?
We do not this option, so this would just be talk… We also have Alexaner Anyukov (on our coaching staff). So if things get worse then we might call up both Anyukov and Tymoshchuk.
I am not needed.
Have you decided on who will be in goal tomorrow? Will Stanislav Kritciuk play again, or is rotation possible?
Let's see. We still have almost a day before the game and one more training session. Tomorrow we will decide who’s playing in tomorrow's match.
Have you considered playing with three central defenders? As you did two years ago in Lyon.
We are missing two defenders from the squad, there is no Lovren or Karavaev, plus Barrios is still missing. We have some ideas, but today we still have to look at the condition of the players we have here and we will make a decision closer to the match.
Considering Zenit's performance in last season’s Champions League, do you feel any additional pressure?
There is always pressure, the coaches and the players always want to win and we do our best for this. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. We must give our all to play the best we can. What will happen, we'll see