Alexander Medvedev: “Sergei Semak has done a great job”

The Zenit General Director spoke about Sergei Semak’s contract extension.
Alexander Medvedev: “Sergei Semak has done a great job”

“It is a very important and positive occasion for our club. Not everyone knew that there was an option for one year extension, which meant that at the beginning of the season the contract automatically extended, but at the same time we were speaking and negotiating with Sergei Semak not only about extending it, but about signing a new three-year contract, and we’ve done it today, plus this contract includes the anniversary 2024/25 season. We’ve reached agreement on all of the conditions and I’m very glad about that. These negotiations with Sergei Semak were going like the last ones, easy and professionally and ended with the result that everyone wanted.”

As you’ve mentioned, the contract is until 2025, the year of Zenit’s 100th anniversary. What do you think the club will be like by that moment?

“We’re open about our goals, they’re ambitious, but possible, we aim to win the fifth title in a row and get the second golden star on our badge. Regarding the next two years, we want to commemorate the centenary in style and begin the celebrations the season before, so you can easily guess what aims we have set for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons. We expect to be back in UEFA Competitions if not this season, maybe in the next one. The case has been elevated to CAS, so we’re waiting for the verdict and with a team like ours, we should expect to at least get to the playoffs stage.”

Sergei Semak has been Zenit’s manager for four years already, and during this period eight trophies were won. How would you rate the manager’s contribution to the history of the club?

“There is an old saying: the players win, and the manager loses. Though in our case everyone wins, the players and the manager. It really is rare, if not a unique situation for football, where managers change all the time and that’s a usual thing. Sometimes managers don’t have enough time to get to know the players, not even starting to fulfil their ideas and concepts. We are on our course of a systematic work process focusing on results, and that’s supported by our board of directors.

According to this our squad is selected, we have some rotation, but the first team stays the same. Without a doubt Sergei Semak has done a great job. Most importantly he doesn’t stay in one place and doesn’t live in the past. I have had an opportunity to see him work with his colleagues in the coaching staff and with the players and I think his work has allowed the players to show their best qualities no matter what their nationalities are, how much experience they have, or the status of the player. It’s difficult to create such chemistry in the team, but it’s even more difficult to keep it. This comes from the contribution of the coaching staff, the management and the fans.”

Why is the timeframe of the new contract specifically three years?

“This timeframe allows the manager to be sure that he has enough time to do his job. After the first coaching cycle which took four seasons, we collectively decided that it would be best to extend the contract for three years.”

Were there any strategical aspects during the negotiations for the extension of the contract?

“We’ve already established how we communicate both with Sergei Semak and the board of directors. I would like to point out that no matter how busy Alexey Miller is, he pays very close attention to Zenit, supports the team and helps in many ways. We’re very lucky to have a person of this stature, who not only loves football, but understands the game well and takes an active role in things, he has his own opinions, but is open to listening to the opinions of others too.”