Sergei Semak: “We’re going to keep working to play better and earn the points”

The Zenit manager’s words on the defeat against CSKA.

Sergei Semak: “We’re going to keep working to play better and earn the points”

“In my opinion we played badly in the first half, there were too many mistakes with simple passes. I think CSKA got used to the pitch faster than we did, so there were many long passes and tackles. We didn’t see much quality football today. In the second half we made some changes and started playing better. I think in the second half we were closer to scoring, but unfortunately, the deflection went against us. We had a couple of chances to fix the situation at the end, but in order to earn points you have to score. It’s difficult to finish matches with a clean sheet all the time. We’ll be getting ready for the next match. Right now there’s going to be a small break, so we’re going to rest and when we’re fully recharged we’re going to do our best to play better and win the next match.”

After substituting Santos for Chistyakov it seemed like Zenit changed the formation to three central defenders. What was the reason for this change and did it go as you expected?

“Chistyakov came on for Vyacheslav Karavaev. I think it went as we expected. CSKA had chances in the first half, in the second half there were almost none. The only goal that we conceded was after a long shot from a deflection, but for CSKA it was obviously fortunate. I would say we were better than in the first half. Especially with a pitch of this quality. Obviously it was a good change.”

Considering the match against Khimki, the defeat in the Cup game against Dynamo and today, is it possible to call it Zenit’s slump or is it just an unfortunate run?

“That’s for you to judge. We’re focusing on the quality of our game. Speaking of quality, in the match against Khimki it was good, we had the advantage except for the moments when we made mistakes. It’s impossible to control the game for the whole 95 minutes without letting the opponent create a single chance. In both matches, against Khimki and against Dynamo we had an advantage for the chances and for other crucial components of the game. That’s something we take into account when we’re analyzing matches. I don’t have any major questions regarding those two games. We’ve discussed the individual mistakes that lead to the opponents’ chances at our goal. Speaking of today’s match, in the first half we didn’t play to our best, as for the second half, it’s football and anything can happen. It’s impossible for a team to win all the time. We’re going to keep working. We’re definitely upset, but it’s not a big deal. We’re going to keep working to play better and earn the points that we need.”

Can you clarify the absence of Mostovoy? You’ve said before that he got sick, is it a cold or COVID?

“Yes, it’s a cold, unfortunately he caught it a couple of days before the match. I think he should be back to training with the team after the international break.”

A question regarding the atmosphere at the stadium. There weren’t that many fans at the stands even though it was quite a big match. What is your opinion on the atmosphere today?

“Thank you to the fans who came to watch the match. It’s sad for us too when the stadium is not full. Speaking of St. Petersburg, thank you to our fans, we have more people attending the matches, but there’s still a lot to work on. Though even before the Supporters Card implementation we had more fans coming to the stadium than other cities. It’s more enjoyable for the footballers to play in the presence of fans who actively support them. We can’t do anything about it, it’s the law and it has to be respected.”