Recently there were news that Aleksandr Erokhin was in the list of Zenit-2 players, but he came on the pitch in the match against Akhmat as captain. Could you please explain why he was the one chosen to be listed as a Zenit-2 player?
“I’ve already answered this question before, it’s just a technical issue and a way for us to get around this situation as Erokhin is not classed as "home grown" player. It is strange though as he's a Russian international. We had to free up a space in our list so we could submit a foreign player if required, so that's why. Regarding him being captain… He is one of the most experienced and respected players in our team. He always works hard, so he deserves to be respected by the coaching staff and the players. He always does his absolute best during matches and training sessions. Therefore the choice of making him the captain was obvious in my opinion.”
People say that Mateo Cassierra started playing better this season because Malcom left and the Brazilians notice him more often now. When Malcom was at Zenit, they were paying attention mostly to him and playing through him. How would you explain Mateo’s improvement?
“Mateo receives all this attention now only because he started scoring more. It’s important to score more and that’s about it. Nothing in the way he plays changed, last year he was also very useful for the team. It’s important for forwards to score in order to be confident and accurate with the chances that they create. Last season his accuracy wasn’t goood enough to score a lot of goals, but this season he's helping the team and scoring. Nothing has changed with anyone’s departure nor arrival. He just keeps playing as usual and the only change that happened is the amount of goals.”
Denis Adamov hasn’t played in a single match this season. He has a chance to come on the pitch in the Russian Cup games, but this time we saw Aleksandr Vasyutin in goal. What can you say on his readiness to play, on his chances to participate in matches, and how is he getting used to being the third goalkeeper at Zenit?
“Speaking of the first, the second and the third goalkeeper, it’s just a technical term. We have three goalkeepers, and at the moment Mikhail Kerzhakov is our number one, he is quite reliable. Aleksandr Vasyutin makes his appearances in the Russian Cup. It’s competition and I think Denis has to get used to our training sessions and to feel comfortable in the team. There’s no doubt that he is a talented goalkeeper, we can trust him, otherwise we wouldn’t have signed him. Right now his future depends on him and it’s a standard situation. I’m sure he is going to play more eventually, and with the way he usually trains he is definitely going to help us too.”
What condition is the team in right now? Who is going to be able to play? Can you say a few words on Lokomotiv and has anything changed since the last time you faced them?
“We’re working to our usual schedule. We have to rest a little bit since we had four away matches in a row, two Cup games and two league ones. Now we’re happy to be back home and it’s important for us to recover. The break between those matches was only two days, and it’s never easy when you have to travel. We were putting the recovery aspect first. Speaking of the players who are ready for the match, everyone is, except for Andrey Mostovoy who is just starting to train with the first team, so he is not ready to play yet. Dmitriy Vasiliev is also out due to injury now. He will undergo surgery and has a long recovery process. We’re getting ready to face Lokomotiv without these two guys, everyone else is training.”