MOSCOW, December 2 (R-Sport) – Zenit St. Petersburg coach Luciano Spalletti suggested Sunday he deserves the blame for the dramatic slump in form that has seen Russian football’s Premier League leader fail to win any of its last seven matches.
Following Zenit’s 1-1 draw away to struggling Terek Grozny on Sunday, the St. Petersburg side’s advantage at the top of the RPL standings is one point, and it will lose top spot if Lokomotiv Moscow can beat FC Kuban on Sunday.
On the European stage, Zenit remains firmly in the hunt for a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League, occupying second place in Group G, but has won just one of its five games so far.
“We aren’t showing the sort of skill that we possess. Maybe the coach is guilty of that, in that he isn’t preparing for these matches well enough,” Spalletti said on the Zenit website.
“Regarding the situation in the league, I’d say that we aren’t functioning on our level, not reaching our usual benchmark.”
Spalletti, 54, has been in charge at Zenit since 2009, winning two Russian titles and one Russian Cup. He is frequently linked with a return to Italy’s Serie A.
Zenit is next in domestic league action Friday away to sixth-placed FC Krasnodar. If the St. Petersburg side beats Austria Vienna away December 11, it will reach the Champions League knockout stages.