Zenit St Petersburg Coach Luciano Spalletti is full of respect for Champions League Group C Malaga, but puts the pressure on Milan to progress.
The Russians are in the Costa del Sol this Tuesday for their opening fixture of the 2012-13 edition of UEFA’s club tournament.
Speaking to the Press ahead of the clash with Malaga, Italian Spalletti looked to place expectancy in the group on his fellow countrymen, and away from his team, who have just spent €80m on Axel Witsel and Hulk.
“Milan are the favourites for the group. That is what I thought after the draw. Although they have lost two very strong players [Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva], they have replaced them. The others in the group are also very strong and will create a lot of work, like Milan.
“Malaga are a great team, with a very strong playing staff, but my team does not have to envy them, we are very strong as well.
“The first thing to do is to coach a winning a mentality, and [Manuel Pellegrini] has done that. They have players of great experience and great technical ability, such as [Javier] Saviola, [Martin] Demichelis, [Nacho] Monreal, Isco and [Ignacio] Camacho.
“Pellegrini is doing a great job in a major League and they are proving successful. We can only discover the weakness of Malaga after playing strong against them for 90 minutes.”