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Preud'homme prepared for free-scoring Zenit

Published: Wednesday 9 March 2011, 21.01CET
FC Twente coach Michel Preud'homme says the Dutch side must "play the perfect game in defence and attack" against the competition's 22-goal top scorers FC Zenit St Petersburg.
by Giovanni de Paola
from Enschede
Preud'homme prepared for free-scoring Zenit
Michel Preud'homme lost his only previous tie against Zenit as a coach ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

TwenteZenit

Goals scored9
 
24
Attempts on target22
 
68
Attempts off target31
 
46
Corners19
 
58
Offsides16
 
38
Fouls committed88
 
131
Yellow cards10
 
21
Red cards1
 
1

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Published: Wednesday 9 March 2011, 21.01CET

Preud'homme prepared for free-scoring Zenit

FC Twente coach Michel Preud'homme says the Dutch side must "play the perfect game in defence and attack" against the competition's 22-goal top scorers FC Zenit St Petersburg.

Michel Preud'homme is expecting FC Zenit St Petersburg to present his FC Twente side with a different kind of proposition in their UEFA Europa League last-16 opener to that which the Dutch champions encountered in the previous round against FC Rubin Kazan.

Twente prevailed 4-2 on aggregate last month against Zenit's domestic rivals, for whom the encounters were their first competitive assignments since early December. With Zenit due to start the defence of their Russian title this weekend, Preud'homme expects Luciano Spalletti's charges to be a fitter and stronger force at the FC Twente Stadion.

"Zenit are in different shape in comparison to Rubin Kazan," he said. "Zenit have already played some games and they won the Russian Super Cup [1-0 against PFC CSKA Moskva on Sunday]. The most important thing is not to concede a goal."

Keeping a clean sheet would be a noteworthy achievement given that the 2008 UEFA Cup winners are the competition's top scorers with 22 goals in eight games since the start of the group stage. "We cannot even give ten minutes to Zenit because they can punish us," added Preud'homme. "We must play the perfect game in defence and attack."

The former Belgium goalkeeper does not remember his only previous tie against Zenit with much fondness; he was sent to the stands as his R. Standard de Liège side lost 3-0 at the Petrovski Stadion in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup first round. "Zenit with [Dick] Advocaat in September 2007 had a great team but now with Spalletti they are still great and have the same good style. Only a few players have changed, like [Andrey] Arshavin, but other strong players have replaced them."

Spalletti was equally forthcoming with praise when asked about his opponents. "Twente are a very well-organised team," he said, adding that striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov will start on the bench after he missed training. "They were only edged out against FC Internazionale [Milano, in the UEFA Champions League group stage]. I have watched their games as I always do and I am prepared to face them."

Danko Lazović, who left PSV Eindhoven for Zenit 12 months ago, could play up front, and the Serbian international is looking forward to facing the Eredivisie club again. "I know Theo Janssen, with whom I played at Vitesse, and he is one of Twente's most dangerous players," said the 27-year-old.

Last updated: 10/03/11 19.07CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2011/matches/round=2000130/match=2003801/prematch/preview/index.html#twente+ready+zenit

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