Zenit St. Petersburg prepare to welcome Juventus and coach Dick Advocaat insists his side are more than capable of avenging their Matchday 1 defeat by the Bianconeri.
“We didn’t deserve to lose,” said the Dutchman. “We played a really good match against a top Italian club. If we play on Tuesday like we did in Italy then we’ll get a result.”
Zenit need a win to stay in contention for a place in the first knockout round, and Advocaat’s players are looking forward to take on the two-time winners.
“Sometimes guys come to me and say that they are tired or have other problems, but that hasn’t been the case for this encounter.”
Missing for Zenit will be injured midfielder Lee Ho and the suspended Sebastian Puygrenier, though Belgian defender Nicolas Lombaerts should be fit after picking up a calf injury at the weekend.
“He’s been back in training already so I think he’ll be ready for the game,” said Advocaat, who must also choose whether to replace Radek Sirl with the fit-again Kim Dong Jin at left-back.
“Juventus lost for the first time in six league games at the weekend but played well,” he said, referring to the 1-0 away loss to Internazionale. “We have to go for the win if we want to be sure of at least a UEFA Cup place.”
Visitors Juventus, already assured of a place in the knockout stages after successive victories against Madrid, will be weakened by the absence of seven first-team players.
“Of course, I don’t have a lot of options but I’ve chosen the best available players for the trip to St Petersburg,” said Juve coach Claudio Ranieri, for whom Gianluigi Buffon, David Trezeguet, Jonathan Zebina, Dario Knezevic, Cristiano Zanetti, Christian Poulsen and Tiago are all out injured. “I’ll decide the squad after training and you’ll all see who’s in on the night,” added.
“There are no friendly matches in this tournament,” continued the former Chelsea manager, who was impressed with Zenit’s performance in the weekend win over Spartak. “They played a very good game and this encounter will not be easy for us.”