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Spalletti delights in 'perfect' Zenit

Luciano Spalletti said FC Zenit St Petersburg "played a perfect, beautiful match" to win 1-0 against FC Shakhtar Donetsk, Mircea Lucescu conceding his side were second best.

Spalletti delights in 'perfect' Zenit
Spalletti delights in 'perfect' Zenit ©UEFA.com

Luciano Spalletti, Zenit coach
We played our own brand of football. We studied our opponents and knew what to expect. Zenit played a perfect, beautiful match. We created some 15 chances and Shakhtar had one shot on goal. Yes, after the break Shakhtar had a spell of possession – this team has real European experience and pedigree, so no wonder. The score was in our favour and they needed to do more, to take risks, and they could not do it.

We played at a very high tempo, very intensively, and totally deserved this victory. We tried to play the same kind of football we played in Donetsk yet this match was slightly different. I'm very happy with how it went. Zenit need to get results from two remaining matches to be in the knockout stages. We're still not favourites.

Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar coach
Zenit deserved to win. They were far better than us in the first half. We were too scared at the beginning of the game and allowed them to penetrate our box, easily creating chances. We did not create any danger before the break. It was only after we started to have more possession in the second half that we had chances of our own.

We looked decent after the break though the absence of the injured Fernandinho, Jadson and [Dmytro] Chygrynskiy was felt. It is difficult to say whether we would have been able to withstand Zenit's pressure with them in the squad, but it would have been a different game. Zenit deserved to win, and we have to console ourselves with the fact we were no worse than them in the second half.

Zenit are an excellent team. I believe they have to defeat APOEL, perhaps with a bigger score than today. We have to win the two games we have ahead of us. I hope our injured players return so we can face Porto and APOEL with a different team.