Sergei Semak: “To win, you need to score goals”

The Zenit boss spoke to the media after the 1-0 defeat at home to CSKA Moscow.

Sergei Semak: “To win, you need to score goals”

I said before the match, to win, you need to score goals, but once again we didn’t score a goal. As for playing on defence, there weren’t any particular issues. However, we conceded after a tough-to-take penalty. In this game and in the previous game, the things were calm in front of our goal, and there was no need for a foul, but that’s the human factor. I think no one wants to deliberately foul and give away a penalty. Unfortunately, we couldn’t even score into an empty net. That's why it's a shame. The lads tried to create chances right to the very end, but this is football, sometimes it’s like this. 

It was a very disappointing defeat, what steps will you take to change things and motivate the team for the remaining three matches this season?

The team is totally motivated, and today we came out fully motivated. We gave it our all from the first to the last minute. We tried, took the initiative, pressed and created chances, but we just couldn’t score. Unfortunately, this happens. I don’t think we’ve had a single game in which the team were unmotivated. We create chances... There was just no finishing, no goals scored and this affects our results.

Can you tell us what did Alexey Miller said in the locker room? Or should that remain in the locker room?

Of course, everything that happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room.

Is this is the double match against CSKA a cruel joke on the team? Four days later you’re playing here again. 

No, these are two different tournaments, in the first Cup match we played in Moscow and had a completely different lineup. Today it was the league and that’s a different thing. These matches were not similar at all. So I don't think it had any impact.

There’s a story about the Rubin player’s joking about incentives from Krasnodar, and it’s being seriously looked into. Should the player be punished? 

I have no idea about this. I have a lot more important work to do rather than watch and listen to what is happening around me.

There has been a lot of discussion on social media about the performance of referee Ivanov in this match. Apparently, both clubs may have valid points about yellow cards and other things, what did it look like for you, do you have any questions for the ref?

I don’t want to say anything about refereeing. I have already spoken on this topic before. About both the interpretations and understanding of the laws. Too many things that take place are incomprehensible. I don't want to talk about refereeing.

At the end of the match, Mikhail Kerzhakov went up for a corner, like Peter Schmeichel for Manchester United against Bayern, do you practice this or was it just his impulse?

Of course not. It was impulsive. Nobody trains for a goalkeeper to do this. If he had outstanding qualities when it came to set pieces, then maybe this could theoretically happen. There are goalkeepers who took free kicks and penalties. But in this case it was emotional. We had to score so Misha went forward.

Ivan Sergeev last started an RPL match in November last year. Today is his birthday and he was in the starting lineup. Was this your gift to him?

Vanya deserved to start as he works hard in and his play fits the model we planned to play. But, unfortunately, we are now experiencing a tough time for our attackers in front of goal. But Vanya is a professional, he always works hard and today he has earned a place in the starting lineup. 

Zenit have only scored one goal in the last four league match. Is this bad luck or another reason?

I think there are no other reason. Look at our chances, if you look at the match we lost to Rubin, and the draw with Fakel, and today’s game... Wendel’s chance, or the two or three one-on-ones we had in the Fakel match, there were also so many chances with Rubin. Of course, our finishing let us down, we created chances, and we play well, but there aren’t enough goals scored.

We’ve asked you questions about the league race before, but now it’s going to be harder for you to win it. How much do you think your chances have decreased after today's match?

Our chances have significantly decreased. Let's see how Dynamo do in their game. We made it very difficult for ourselves both in today’s match and in the previous ones when we dropped points. The team is going through a difficult period right now, but I have absolutely no complaints about the guys, they gave it their all, but it didn’t work. Anything can happen in football, and these situations happen, although very rarely. In my football memory, I can’t even remember a similar time when a team played well, created chances, but could not score. And this, naturally, affects the league standings.