Andre Villas-Boas insists Yuri Lodygin is still his number one goalkeeper at Zenit, despite leaving him out of the 2-1 win over Gent on Tuesday.
Debutant Mikhail Kerzhakov was preferred in goal for the Champions League clash, after a strong criticism of Lodygin’s recent performances.
But former Chelsea and Porto coach Villas-Boast insists he is still his first choice keeper.
“Changing the goalkeeper – it is a decision for the benefit of the team,” he said in his post-match press conference.
“But we believe that he will be able to overcome his poor form and return to previous performance levels.”
Villas-Boas was left thoroughly satisfied by his team’s showing on Tuesday, with Oleg Shatov sealing a second consecutive win after Artem Dzyuba’s opener was cancelled out by Thomas Matton.
The result leaves Zenit top of Group H and in a good position to qualify for the last 16 for the sixth time, much to the delight of their Portuguese boss, who was particularly pleased with the performance of Hulk after the Brazilian recorded assists for both goals.
“We had a fantastic match and fully deserved to win. We had a lot of chances. No problems there.
“Hulk created a lot of chances, it was just today he played in a position that does not involve a large number of shots on goal.”
Despite Zenit’s strong position in the group, Villa-Boas is taking nothing for granted, stating he is already eyeing another three points from the game against Lyon, who like Gent are still looking for their first win.
“While it is difficult to talk about the prospects ahead of the next four matches, we are waiting for the Lyon game, after which it would be great to score nine points.
“I do not think that this is impossible, we will try.
“If we manage to win the next game, we will have a very good position in the group.”