FC Twente goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov called striker Luuk de Jong "unbelievable" after the youngster's two-goal salvo against FC Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday.
The 20-year-old Dutch international scored two clinical headers either side of Denny Landzaat's shot as the Eredivisie titleholders defeated their Russian counterparts 3-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie. It was a superb all-round performance from Michel Preud'homme's side, although Mihaylov was keen to single out one player.
"Luuk [de Jong] was unbelievable," the Bulgaria custodian told UEFA.com. "Every touch, every run he made, every shot and header was unbelievable. I'm glad he is in our team and not playing for someone else."
De Jong's goals have put Twente in a formidable position before the return leg on 17 March, yet the clean sheet may prove just as important in St Petersburg. Zenit had arrived in Enschede as the competition's top scorers, yet while they created some good chances Luciano Spalletti's charges failed to find a way past the inspired Mihaylov.
The 22-year-old was reluctant to take too much credit, however, saying: "I wasn't the only one [who stopped Zenit scoring]. Everybody gave the best they could. We played very well in defence and we took advantage of every chance we had at the other end. The defenders were terrific. We also had a lot of power and energy in midfield, which was necessary against a very tough Zenit team. It was a difficult game for me. I had saves to make and I'm glad I could help my team."
Twente have already secured a fine result in Russia this year, beating another club that came in from the UEFA Champions League group stage, FC Rubin Kazan, 2-0 in the previous round. Mihaylov, though, insisted there is no room for complacency. "We're not through," the ex-PFC Levski Sofia keeper said. "The next game is going to be difficult. They have nothing to lose so they will throw everything at us and if we are not totally focused we'll have problems. If they score an early goal and get the fans behind them, with the players they have it will be hard."
Mihaylov said the Dutch outfit should go to Russia with the intention of scoring. "We'll have chances because they'll leave some space," he predicted. "We'll have to counterattack well like we did here. We've scored three goals already and if we score over there they will need five. It's a good position to be in but nothing is finished yet."
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