Sergei Semak: “We’re focused on playing the last match as best we can”

The Zenit manager’s words before the upcoming match against Pari NN.
Sergei Semak: “We’re focused on playing the last match as best we can”

Before the match on Saturday the training session takes place on the pitch of the Gazprom Arena. What would you say about this change in terms of the full process of getting ready for this game?

“The most efficient training sessions usually take place at the Gazprom Training Centre in order to keep this pitch in better condition. We’ve trained outside before, but today we have a shorter session, so we’ve decided to move it to the Gazprom Arena taking the weather conditions into account.”

How do you organize the part of training that’s not focused on the playing aspect? Usually you have all the equipment in the training centre.

“That’s right, the key part of our work takes place at the training centre, and here we have the recovery training sessions focusing on the tactical aspects of the game. It’s impossible to explain things being outside right now due to the weather conditions, therefore when it comes to tactics and explanations we relocate these sessions to the Gazprom Arena.”

Speaking of your next opponent, Pari NN have shown themselves as an average team from the middle section of the table and they don’t have any outstanding statistics to share either. Why do you think our next opponent is so efficient nonetheless?

“Pari NN have rights to be proud of their statistics on the amount of conceded goals, they take the second place after Krasnodar. They conceded less goals than we did. This fact shows that Pari NN have one of the best defensive lines in our league. The way the team plays in defence right now makes them leaders in this regard.”

Our team had an unpleasant period of time, the last few matches weren’t very successful for Zenit. What would you say about the mental state of the team at the moment?

“The mental state is absolutely fine, the season is quite long, and everybody understands that it’s impossible to win all of the matches. Every club has its issues, we’ve faced ours at the beginning of the season and as it was progressing as well. Our job is to deal with these issues and try to do our best. We know that aside from wins we will experience the defeats as well. Right now we’re focused on playing the last match as best we can.”

The usual question on the physical condition of the players. Are there any updates on who will be able to participate in the upcoming match and who won’t?

“The situation is still the same, Vyacheslav Karavaev is still recovering, Vasiliev caught a cold. Everyone else is getting ready.”

The last question. On the next day after the Zenit v Pari NN match there will be a media football tournament hosted at the Gazprom Arena. Are you planning to attend the match, and what are your thoughts on the media football teams playing at this stadium in general?

“I think it’s a great idea. Considering the current weather, it’s wonderful that there is an opportunity to play in these conditions. There will be much more fans attending the match than at the open roof stadium. Speaking of myself, I won’t be able to attend the tournament as I will be leaving for a couple of days. Although my kids might come, those who like football will definitely enjoy watching the match.”