Spalletti remains confident about his future in Zenit

27 May 2013 10:16

Zenit St Petersburg's Italian manager Luciano Spalletti said Monday he was confident of his future at the club despite the side's failure to win any trophies this season.

"I have never received any warning from (club president Alexander) Dyukov or (the club's main sponsor Gazprom chief Alexei) Miller," Spalletti said in an interview with the Sport Express daily.

"I always set my team the highest possible targets and for sure we all want to win every single match that we play. But that notorious firecracker that hurt the Dynamo 'keeper dashed our hopes for success in the Premiership this season."

Zenit were handed a technical 3-0 defeat in their away match with Dynamo Moscow in November.

The punishment was imposed by the Russian Football Union (RFU) executive committee after the game was called off in the first half when Dynamo goalkeeper Anton Shunin was injured by a firecracker thrown onto the pitch from an area occupied by Zenit fans.

Zenit lodged an appeal against the RFU verdict but the CAS tribunal in Lausanne rejected it.

Spalletti added that he was bitterly disappointed that Zenit failed to reach the final of the Russian Cup following a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Anzhi Makhachkala.

"We all had wanted to face CSKA head-to-head in the final of the Russian cup. Unfortunately, we missed our chance," the 54-year-old manager said.

Spalletti added that he felt he still had the backing of the club's bosses and fans despite finishing trophy-less this season, having won the league titles in the two previous seasons.

"I know perfectly what to do and feel confident that I will remain with the club next season," Spalletti said. "I'm a professional manager and I will do the best I can next season."

"This season we failed to win any trophy but Zenit experienced a very serious internal crisis. We managed to solve this problems with dignity and to restore the good chemistry in our dressing room almost completely.

"And even though we finished second, we scored more goals than any other club and battled our way into next year's Champions' League. It's very important for the club's prestige."

Earlier this season Zenit were rocked by a series of internal conflicts linked to the record signings of Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel and Brazilian striker Hulk, the pair which reportedly cost the club a total of 100 million euros.

Their arrival, which sparked protests by home-grown players and dressing room discord over their mammoth salaries, has not translated into dominance on the pitch.

Discontent over the two players' salaries prompted Russia's national team captain Igor Denisov to walk out for a month in protest and he was backed by Zenit's other home-grown players.

Source: AFP