Troubled Zenit hopes for reversal of fortunes
MOSCOW - Agence France-PresseRussian champions Zenit St Petersburg is hungry for success in domestic and European competition despite being knocked out of the Champions League and suffering a slow start at homne, captain Miguel Danny said.
Zenit is currently third in the Russian Premier League with 38 points from 19 matches, five behind leaders CSKA Moscow.
The Russian league resumes on March 9 after the winter break, but in the meantime, Zenit will face English Premiership giants Liverpool over two legs for a place in the Europa league last 16 after failing to make the Champions League knock-out stages.
“The matches with Liverpool will definitely be interesting and I hope that already in the first match against them we will look like the real Zenit and battle for the win together.”
Zenit raised eyebrows across the world with the signing of Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel and Brazilian striker Hulk, the biggest transfer deals in Russian football history. Yet fans are still waiting for the signings to translate into success on the field as both stars have yet to settle in the wake of the bitter internal conflict their arrival sparked.
But Danny insisted that Zenit was capable of closing the gap on CSKA to retain the title.
“Of course in the current situation we also depend on the results of other title challengers,” he said. “But we are strong enough to defend our title.”