Sergei Semak: "Chelsea are a top quality team and it’s hard to say in which areas they are strongest"

The Zenit manager spoke to the media ahead of the Zenit v Chelsea match at the Gazprom Arena. 
Sergei Semak: "Chelsea are a top quality team and it’s hard to say in which areas they are strongest"

Will you have your strongest team out against Chelsea or are you saving your team for Dynamo on Sunday?

We only are thinking about tomorrow’s game, the best prepared players will play tomorrow.

Chelsea are a team with many options, tactics and formations, with Lukaku they play aggressively and differently with other players, what are expecting from them tomorrow?

You are talking about individual players, but their system in general is like a German, well-oiled, organised machine, every player knows their role and knows how to do it well. So I don’t want to talk about individuals, more the way they play as a team.

What’s the injury latest from you?

Kritciuk is injured and Christyakov is suspended, everyone else is fit

How do you motivate the team when the result doesn’t really matter?

The Champions League is motivation enough in itself, and in this tournament we always want to do our best, it doesn’t always happen unfortunately, this doesn’t mean we are not trying, but we want to do our best and will do our best tomorrow.

Chelsea have some talented and dangerous players, wingers and forwards, Lukaku scored in the first game, but who are you concerned about tomorrow?

I think it depends on what’s happening on the pitch, if we play high then we’ll be concerned with their wingers, if we play deeper, then Lukaku could be very dangerous, he’s so good in the air. They are a top quality strong team and it’s hard to say in which areas they are strongest. It will depend on the situation at hand and how the game plays out. 

When the result doesn’t matter, does that make it easier or more difficult to motivate the team and yourself? 

The Champions League is its own motivator, we don’t need extra motivation against the top European clubs. If you’re too carefree it can cause problems, but it has its advantages too.

No Chistyakov tomorrow, so will you play with Barrios in the back three or will you play with two central defenders?

We are thinking about it and Barrios is an option for us, he’s good in this position, but we’re still thinking about our starting lineup for tomorrow’s game. 

Will tomorrow’s game be to win or will you experiment with the team, which you don’t often have the chance to do in the Champions League?

Serious and big changes take a long time to prepare and so these don’t often happen, unless it’s forced upon us. Tomorrow we’re more interested in the quality of our players and how they play. Maybe they’ll be some unexpected selections tomorrow. We’ll see.