Anatoliy Davydov Heads First Practice, Zenit Turns Attention To Spain

Sergey ZikovSenior Analyst IAugust 11, 2009

Zenit St. Petersburg wanted to make sure the coaching concern was fixed immediately after Dick Advocaat was removed from his post on Monday.

55-year-old Anatoliy Davydov, former Zenit Leningrad defensive midfielder from 1975-1988, was appointed caretaker of the club until another manager is found, or Davydov proves himself worthy.

Davydov, who spoke earlier before practice about his goals as a manager, made several things very clear.

"For me, this appointment is a very great honor. But our purpose is still the same, we strive to place in the Champion's League." he told the media.

A Champion's League place is certainly very far away, from where the club currently stands. At 6-6-5 and in 7th place overall, Zenit sits 10 points behind leaders Rubin Kazan. Not an insurmountable difference by any means, but winning matches would certainly help—something that the team has not managed to do in four attempts.

Davydov also stressed the necessity to work on team chemistry.

"The main issue that needs addressed is the psychology of the boys."

It is true.

With numerous changes to the line over the last several months, Zenit has struggled to achieve any type of chemistry with each other. Alessandro Rosina only had a mere several days before getting tossed into his first match.

The team can't be very successful while the starting 11 changes dramatically on a weekly basis.

As former manager of Zenit's youth squad, Davydov also wants to get as many young players involved not only in practice, but in match situations as well.

The new manager also wanted an upbeat first practice, in which he divided the squad into two seperate teams, one in white and the other in green.

Many young players got to test their abilities against first-team goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev or Kamil Contofalsky, while 20-year-old midfielder Aleksei Ionov made his first return to practice since sustaining an ankle injury against Terek Grozny three weeks ago.

The team will begin preparations for Amkar Perm, but also are looking ahead to the Europa League playoff match in Madiera against CD Nacional on August 20th. The home-and-home set will conclude at the Petrovsky Stadium on August 27, four days after playing host to Lokomotiv Moscow.

Whether Dick Advocaat is still manager or not, the need for one or two more strikers is still there. So when the opportunity presented itself, Zenit was ready.

23-year-old Real Madrid striker Alvaro Negredo appears to be headed out, but to where remains uncertain. Zenit has reportedly offered €15 million for his services, but are more than willing to raise the offer if necessary. Negredo, at 1.87m (or 6'1.5'') tall, would be an excellent replacement, if not an upgrade, for recently departed striker Pavel Pogrebnyak.

If Real Madrid accepts, Negredo's agent Alejandro Camano certainly hasn't ruled any options out. 

"Zenit? It is a possibility," said Camano.

However, Negredo would not be the first Iberian to sport a Zenit kit, and certainly not the first dynamic Spanish or Portuguese playmaker in Russia.

Zenit already fields two Portuguese internationals, in Danny and Fernando Meira, while Brazilian striker Vagner Love plays for CSKA Moscow and Alejandro Damian Dominguez plays for Rubin Kazan.

Speaking of which, there is no better time to wish Danny a belated birthday, as he turned 26 a few days ago. 

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