Sergei Semak: "We’ve reached the next stage of the competition, as we aimed to"

The Zenit manager took questions from the media after the Russian Cup semi final with Spartak Moscow.
Sergei Semak: "We’ve reached the next stage of the competition, as we aimed to"

I think the match went well for us, we controlled the ball and had chances. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to score today. I am more than satisfied with the quality of our game today. We’ve reached the next stage of the competition, as we aimed to. I hope everyone has remained fit and we will now prepare for the next league match which will take place very soon. 

You had complete control of the first half, however not so much in the second half. Was this done on purpose to try to catch them on the counterattack?

No, that’s how the game turned out. It’s impossible to control the ball the entire match when playing against a good team with good players. Some parts of the match could have been controlled better, but overall, we had much of the big advantage. It would have been impossible to dominate both halves.
The camera caught your reaction at the moment Cassierra’s goal was ruled out by VAR. Do you have any comment about this?

Regarding the goal being cancelled, it was canceled and that’s it, that was down to VAR. We’re no longer able to fathom VAR. It looked like a good goal, but rules are rules and VAR is VAR. It's OK. Regarding the refereeing, there were no issues that affected the match. There are probably always questions, but I’ve nothing to say. We move on. 

Ilzat Akhmetov impressed many people today with his performance. He had several good chances and dribbles. How satisfied are you with him today? Does his performance mean he could get more playing time?

We’ll see. Everything depends on the condition of the players. You have to earn your place in training and matches to get in the starting XI and get minutes on the pitch. The fixture list is full and I hope all the players will have playing time and a chance to show what they can do. 

Zenit have played four matches with Spartak, won twice in Moscow, but not won wother game here. Is this due to nerves or the performance of the opposition goalkeeper?

Today was due to our finishing and the performance of the opposing goalkeeper, Maksimenko. He played great today, but we also had some bad luck today. In the previous match it was a more equal game and a draw was fair. But today we absolutely deserved to win with the number of chances we created. Thank you very much to our fans who came and supported us today. We are pleased with how we played today, although we weren’t able to score a lot. 

Was Pedro given a rest, or was it to lower our expectations from an 18-year-old who is being expected to score goals in every game?

We had to have a Russian player starting in the team, so Andrey Mostovoy played today. If the game had gone differently, Arthur may have been replaced earlier and maybe Pedro would have come on. He is ready, but, naturally, we wanted to save him for the next match. We need fresh players for the next game. And whenever possible we rotate.

Was the poor finishing due to your players subconsciously underestimating Spartak? Or was it a lack of concentration?

As for it being subconscious, I can’t answer that, that requires a different specialization, We had chances and this type of match happens. We’re not the only team that creates lots of chances and doesn’t score, this happens to many teams, that's why football is interesting. Sometimes you create many chances, and don’t score, but your opponent creates a half-chances and scores... and the result is a shock. That’s what keeps you in suspense throughout the match. It’s fine, our team has been scoring a lot of goals for many years. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But we create chances, and that's the most important thing. Quantity will definitely develop into quality, God willing, in the upcoming matches.