|Attempts on target||36||13|
|Attempts off target||25||33|
The last 12 months have been pretty special for FC Zenit St. Petersburg. At the end of 2007 they clinched their first post-Soviet Russian title, and they went on to lift the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup this summer. However, midfielder Konstantin Zyryanov admits that they are finding life tough at the top.
A 2-2 league draw at FC Spartak Nalchik on Saturday left Zenit stuck in fifth in the Russian Premier-Liga with six games left, leaving them as outsiders to earn a second UEFA Champions League campaign. They welcome FC BATE Borisov in Europe's top club competition on Tuesday still waiting to secure their first Group H point, with defeats against Real Madrid CF and Juventus leaving them below Belarussian debutants BATE in the section. Despite claiming that Zenit "deserved draws ... or even wins" in those games, Zyryanov knows Zenit learned a lesson about top-level European football on the opening matchdays.
"Juventus and Real showed us how to score goals," Zyryanov told uefa.com. "They scored from what were not even half chances – Alessandro Del Piero from the free-kick and a Tomáš Hubočan own goal. We, in turn, could not score even from clear opportunities. That is because of a lack of experience which also affects our confidence." By contrast rank outsiders BATE held Juventus 2-2 last time out having been two up on 23 minutes before conceding twice prior to the interval. Zyryanov watched the opening stages of that game, and warned: "They are a disciplined young team and have more points than we do." The Russian international added: "In the first half [Juventus] did not play well but it finished 2-2 and they then had 45 minutes more to score a winner but they could not despite huge efforts, so we will not underestimate our opponents."
Zyryanov would like to see his side adopt a similar attitude in the Russian league, where they conceded a late equaliser on Saturday after coming from behind to lead at Nalchik. They are now six points off the top three with a game in hand. "We are not too good for the Russian Premier-Liga," said Zyryanov, who joined Zenit in 2007 from FC Torpedo Moskva. "We showed a lack of concentration [against Nalchik] and let our opponents earn a draw. Some of my team-mates like Ivica Križanac, Radek Šírl and Danny only returned to Zenit from their national teams a day before the Nalchik game and could not even train with us. Even so, we played some quality football and could have scored a third."
That optimistic note is indicative of Zyryanov's support for Dick Advocaat, who is yet to sign a contract for 2009. "Our coach's future does not affect the team," the 31-year-old said. "We are not discussing it among ourselves. However, personally I want Advocaat to stay as I moved to Zenit when he was the coach and I like the football we play."
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