Dynamo head coach Marcel Licka answered journalists' questions after the winning Cup match against Zenit (1:0).
— It was a very difficult tactical match in which each team wanted to show its football. I would like to note the excellent play of the defenders. Both sides were looking for the opponent's mistakes to use them and score a goal. Tyukavin and Isidor had good chances in the first half. In general, the defenders succeeded in their duties. I am very glad that we played patiently and showed team football. All the team worked as one person, and it was very important. The shorthanded goal is such a bonus for the work we have accomplished. But this is only the first game and a small step towards a total victory. We know that Zenit are a very strong team, and the second leg match will be very difficult.
— At the last Cup encounter, you wanted to play against Zenit. What useful aspects have you learned from this game?
— Our players have demonstrated their good qualities ahead. The defensive line worked great: Robi Fernandez and Fabi Balbuena build a reliable tandem. In addition, Parshivlyuk helps us a lot with his experience. We played with concentration and discipline. After losing the ball, the team switched to defense immediately. I liked the interaction on the pitch: Diego, Foma and Fabi communicated and directed the team's movements. We showed our skill to play under pressure and get out confidently from under it through a short pass. Unfortunately, today the grass was too high, and the ball rolled slower. It's better for us when the grass is shorter. But we understand that we live in Moscow, and the weather here is not the same as in Spain.
— Why didn't you replace Jorge Carrascal, who was on the yellow card?
— There is always such a risk, but then, for example, I would have to change two centre-backs in the game against CSKA. Fabi also received a yellow card, and theoretically he could have got a second one for any tackle. We have to take risks here. I haven't watched the replay of that episode yet, but they told me that Carrascal was the first on the ball and the referee shouldn't award him with a yellow card.
— What can you say about Fedor Smolov's performance, who came out well as a substitute?
— It was not easy to get into such a match, especially considering the fact that we were playing ten-men. But Fedya scored a goal at once and then tried to help Fomin and Laxalt in the midfield. He worked for the team.
— Who else would we have seen on the pitch if it hadn't been a sending-off?
— Honestly speaking, I don't know. In such an intense game, when the team is playing well and all the footballers are healthy and want to continue, I don't want to interfere. If we were leading by 3:0, then a couple of changes could be made. But when you make several substitutions, the intensity of the game is different, because it takes some time to adapt on the pitch. In the derby with CSKA, I also did not interfere during the second half. Today I replaced only Tyuka, because he got hit on the knee, and then fielded Luis Chavez.
— Don't you plan a list of substitutions in advance?
— I used to plan them, but all plans can change easily. I have already learned to react to what is happening on the pitch at a particular moment.
— The same squad came out today as in the second half against CSKA. In a few days you are facing Rubin. Can we see the same line-up again?
— There is a big chance that the same squad will start the next match. The team is in good physical shape. It is clear that the pitches have become softer, and fatigue in the legs accumulates faster. But I am sure that on Monday our footballers will have enough physical strength to play a good 60-70 minutes without any problem. The main thing is to switch quickly from the wins over CSKA and Zenit. Rubin are coming to us, and then we are going to play against Fakel – these are two teams that have already taken away points from us. They will use fast counterattacks, and we will need to play as disciplined and patient as we did today and succeed in finishing.