Sergei Semak: "I would like to thank Fenerbahce for the match"

The Zenit manager spoke to the media after the charity match in Istanbul. 
Sergei Semak: "I would like to thank Fenerbahce for the match"

The match was quite aggressive and emotional despite it being a friendly for charity. Are you satisfied with how things went?

It was intense as was the atmosphere, it was a good competitive game for a friendly and I would like to thank Fenerbahce for agreeing to play this match with us. I would also like to thank the fans who came to watch the match, it wasn’t the best quality game and the players weren’t in their usual positions, but the most important thing is that everyone is fit and got some match practice. It gives us something to think about and there were more positives than negatives. 

How important was it to play this European game in Istanbul mentally?

It is important, all European matches are important, with Red Star, Fenerbahce, and also against Sepahan. The teams that we’ve played have been more competitive and gave us a different level of intensity than we have in the RPL. In our league most sides play defensively, waiting for an error from us, but these matches have been more intense with the teams applying put pressure, playing more openly, and us coaches get to see more of mistakes from our own players. The individual ability of the players is also more evident, you can see players who can play under pressure and those who can’t. These games are important and interesting.

You’ve had three matches without a win, how important was it to have a change of scene? 

We mostly look at how we played, not the result. If we made mistakes against Dynamo and CSKA, and the amount of possession, but today we had other aims. We were focusing on how we played, if you play well you’ll get results. We’re not interested in this run of games, we focus on the game, and the result is what it is.

In the first half, we saw the Claudinho and Malcom combine well and now they have received their Russian passports. Some thought this might cause a dip in effort from them, but this has not happened. 

Malcom is having a very good season and Claudinho has been out of action for a while and need to get back to full match fitness. Douglas has also missed a lot of games, Rodrigao and Wendell too are works in processes. Malcom does indeed look really good right now, and I think he always gives 100%.

Why didn't Kerzhakov, Mostovoy and Barrios travel?

Mostovoy is ill, but is back to individual training, Barrios is having his slightly longer recovery process, and Ivan Sergeev will soon be back. Kerzhakov was given a rest and it gave us a chance to play our goalkeepers who rarely start in the league.  

Cassierra didn't come either. What is his situation?

Cassierra is also got a bit ill and couldn't play today.

Today you gave some young players a place in the squad, what thoughts do you have about them?

Vladimir Saus came on and did well, while Shaikhtdinov and Vakhania did not have much time to show what they can do, but it is important for them to pull on the shirt and appear in the first team.  

What’s the mood in the team as you leave Istanbul? Is morale high?

Today was a totally a working trip and a game that’s given us things to look at. We the fitness levels of the players, and we saw the individual abilities of the players in certain situations. There were moments we liked, and those we liked less, but there were more pluses.