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Villas-Boas warns Zenit to be wary of Gent

Zenit are favourites to beat Gent on Tuesday but mindful of goalkeeping problems and the marker the Belgian side laid down on matchday one, André Villas-Boas is cautious.

Zenit's André Villas-Boas
Zenit's André Villas-Boas ©AFP/Getty Images
  • André Villas-Boas warns that, on their day, Gent can trouble anyone
  • Yuri Lodygin under pressure after several recent goalkeeping errors
  • Gent are 12 games unbeaten in all competitions this term
  • Zenit won five of their eight home matches Europe in 2014/15, losing only once
  • The visitors unable to train in Russia after their flight was diverted to Vilnius

Possible lineups
Lodygin; Smolnikov, Garay, Lombaerts, Criscito; Javi García, Witsel, Yusupov, Shatov, Danny; Dzyuba.
Out: Fayzulin (knee)
Doubtful: Hulk (groin), Anyukov (leg)

Gent: Sels; Asare, Mitrović, Nielsen; Netro, Kums; Raman, Milicevic, Matton; Simon, Depoitre.
Out: Gershon (knee), Johansson (knee), Foket (suspended), Dejaegere (suspended)

André Villas-Boas, Zenit coach
Gent have a strong team spirit and it's hard to pick out any individual players. Their draw with Lyon was proof of their ability; even though they [were down to nine men] they fought and fought. Gent have a mixture of youth and experience, and the ability to cause any opponent problems.

We need a good home display. We have players who can decide a game on their own; they can find space. We also know the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents, but most of all we need to maintain our own motivation, discipline and concentration. We have to perform with confidence.


Hein Vanhaezebrouck, Gent coach
We arrived late and did not have time to conduct training. Usually we have an afternoon nap, but not on Monday. But we hopefully have time to have a good rest and prepare for the match. Zenit are a team you can only admire, they have a lot of strengths.

Valencia are also a strong team, but you cannot say Zenit beating them was a surprise. Everything is new to us at the moment – new stadium, new situation – and we need to get used to it. Zenit have experience, they have a lot of foreign players, a lot of strong individuals, so they're not the easiest of opponents.

Weekend results
Spartak Moskva 2-2 Zenit (Zé Luis 6, Popov 70; Hulk 27, Dzyuba 87)
Zenit could not take advantage of the top two drawing as they were held by fourth-placed Spartak; they remain eight points adrift of CSKA Moskva.

Thomas Matton has scored three in Gent's last two games
Thomas Matton has scored three in Gent's last two games©Getty Images

Waasland-Beveren 1-3 Gent (Milosevic 89; Mitrović 15, Matton 71, Depoitre 75)
Unbeaten Gent were set on their way to a first away win this season when Stefan Mitrović turned in Danijel Milicevic's 15th-minute cross.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)

Reporter's view: Denis Novitsky (@UEFAcomDenisN)
The announcement that coach André Villas-Boas will leave the club at the end of the season has not had a positive effect at Zenit, who have taken just three points from their last four league games. Goalkeeper Lodygin has been inconsistent of late too – some encouragement for Gent, who are expected to play on the counter in Russia.

Did you know?
Zenit have won all five previous home fixtures against Belgian opposition with a combined score of 12-1; find out more in our extensive match background.

Guide to football in St Petersburg