Sunday, September 23, 2018

To have a funeral, you need to have a dead body – Mancini defends Zenit record

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 15 Mar 2018

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Roberto Mancini has rejected suggestions his job could be under threat at Zenit after the club exited the Europa League at the hands of RB Leipzig.

Mancini’s side drew 1-1 at home to their Bundesliga opponents on Thursday, consigning them to a 3-2 aggregate defeat in the round of 16.

Zenit are fifth in the Russian Premier League table, 10 points behind leaders Lokomotiv Moscow, prompting suggestions the Italian could be shown the door at the end of the campaign.

Mancini, though, is adamant he is not concerned about his long-term prospects of remaining in charge at Krestovsky Stadium.

“Personally, I haven’t thought about it and it’s absolutely of no importance to me,” he told a news conference after the draw with Leipzig.

“As for the performances this season, as far as I understand, we played better in the Europa League than we did last season. 

“I think we played very well in Europe. We went to some of the best teams on the continent, very strong teams and beat many of them. 

“This time we also played a very tough team in RB Leipzig, they have a lot of good, young players.  

“Unfortunately, today there were times when we were unlucky, but it’s football and that happens.

“As for the Russian championship, to have a funeral, you need to have a dead body. 

“There are eight matches ahead and we are ten points behind. So let’s wait and see.”

The former Inter and Manchester City boss claimed to be unperturbed at the suggestion he could face crisis talks with Alexei Miller, the head of Zenit’s owners Gazprom.

“Actually, I do not expect anything,” the manager said.

“I’m focused on football. We went out of the Russian Cup and have gone out of this competition over both legs. 

“Perhaps, we do not have the squad that could have made it to the end, but in this competition we had to go further.”

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