Andre Villas-Boas says Zenit will not abandon their “moral responsibility” of playing to beat Gent in their final Champions League group game.
The Russian champions made it five wins from five with a 2-0 victory over Valencia on Tuesday, and Nuno Espirito Santo’s side lost their grip on second place thanks to Gent’s last-gasp victory away to Lyon.
Those results mean a draw in Belgium on December 9 could be enough to send both sides into the last 16 if Valencia fail to beat Lyon, but Villas-Boas is adamant his side will play to win.
“It’s a difficult situation but we have some moral responsibility. We’ll keep the next round in mind but you need to respect the opponent and respect the situation in the group,” he said.
“Also, we always try to play to win, and we’d like six wins from six if possible.”
The former Tottenham boss was happy with his side’s display in St Petersburg and believes their progress to the next round will serve the reputation of Russian football well.
“I think the match started well for us. We counter-attacked but acted confidently in possession in the first half.
“We are very happy with the result. I think we’ve gone through to the next round in prestigious style. It’s good for Russia and for Zenit, it creates a positive opinion of us.”
Villas-Boas could face two of his old clubs in the last 16, with Chelsea and Porto both battling to emerge from a competitive Group G, and the 38-year-old suggested he would prefer to meet the Premier League champions.
“I would not want to play Porto as this is my favourite team,” he added. “But the draw can be anything.
“I’m convinced that all the 16 teams in the next round will be competitive. It’s very important that we got to the next round and that we’ll play the return game at home.”