Zenit St Petersburg coach Luciano Spalletti feels his side were worthy winners in their 1-0 Champions League victory over Anderlecht.
The Russian side claimed their first Champions League points of the 2012/13 campaign courtesy of Alexsandr Kerzhakov’s 200th career goal.
Speaking to the club’s official website after the match, Spalletti was delighted his team were able to grind out the victory in what was essentially a must-win clash.
“Of course we expected a difficult game today because of pressure from the fact that we had to win,” he said.
“The pitch was difficult, and our opponent was strong.
“We were aware that the game would not be a simple one. I think we played well most of all in terms of team balance. We attacked a lot without losing our balance.
“We played wisely today. I think we made a lot of scoring opportunities. From my point of view, we deserved to win today.”
The former Roma coach also reserved special praise for match-winner Kerzhakov, who kept his composure to convert from the penalty spot.
“Kerzhakov shows his best in times of great pressure,” he said.
“He is a player and a person who shows his best qualities in difficult times.”
Big-money signing Hulk came in for some criticism after his performance and Spalletti conceded the Brazilian did not enjoy his best match in a Zenit shirt.
“Hulk was unlucky … today,” he said.
“Often when in possession of the ball he made mistakes. It was impossible to do what he wanted, and because of this he got nervous. I can’t say he played his best match.”
Zenit are third in Group D, one point behind Milan and six behind leaders Malaga.