There are a lot of young players present in this training session. Could you please tell us which first team players have already left and whom have you invited to get ready for the match against Sochi?
“Speaking of the youngsters, aside from those who have been training with us before, we’ve invited Moskalenchik, Vasiliev and Saus, these three players will be getting ready for the upcoming matches. The information on the injured players and those who were called up by the national teams is still the same. Two players who left after the last match are Claudinho and Douglas, they were given time to rest. Everyone else is getting ready for the matches.”
What do you expect from the match in Sochi? Which aims are you setting for the team? What should fans expect?
“There’s only one aim, to play as best we can and win. Right now we’re focusing on the quality of our football as we have to keep up with the level we currently have. The players who have been getting less playing time will obviously get a good opportunity now.”
Gustavo Mantuan is the only Brazilian who hasn’t left for vacation. What stage are negotiations at? Is there any new information on whether he stays for next season or not?
“All the information is in the club management’s hands, we’ve already stated our point. Now everything depends on the speed of the decision making and how fast we’ll be able to reach the agreement on Gustavo’s transfer.”
Zenit have a lot of experience on becoming champions early. How does the process of getting ready for matches change after winning the title?
“It doesn’t change, we still have the same training schedule. Sometimes we might have more days off, but not that many. After the match against Spartak we had one additional day off, and the same was after the game with Krasnodar. The only change that happened was those two extra days off that we wouldn’t have taken if we hadn’t won the league early.”
Odoevskiy is still absent from the team. Has the season finished early for him because of the injury?
“No, we’re hoping that next week he’s going to train with the team.”
The same question about Bakaev.
“We’re waiting. The situation is the same, he’s training individually, but we’re hoping to see him join us next week.”
Is Karavaev back to training with the team?
“Yes, Karavaev is back and he’s ready.”
Congratulations on Zenit’s anniversary, today the club celebrates its 98th birthday. What would you say to the club and its supporters on this special day?
“I want to congratulate the fans and the city. It’s a big date, not quite 100 yet, but already very close. I’ve already congratulated the guys, we have to do everything we can for our team so our fans and the city would be proud of the players and the club.”
The match against Sochi takes place on St. Petersburg’s anniversary. Is making the citizens happy going to be extra motivation?
“St. Petersburg and Zenit are together even when it comes to anniversaries (smiles). We’re going to try our best to play the way we play in every match, showing quality football and scoring goals. We always try to make our fans happy, and not only on the day of the city’s anniversary.”