‘Atleti created nothing in open play’

Luciano Spalletti rued Zenit St Petersburg’s defeat to Atletico Madrid, believing that his side allowed Los Colchoneros too much space.

The Russians have begun their Champions League campaign on the back foot with a 3-1 defeat to Atleti at the Vicente Calderon.

“We created very little in the first half, but felt more comfortable after the break,” Spalletti reflected post-match.

“We settled once we scored our goal, but Atletico quickly took the lead again which changed the flow of the game.

“We allowed them too much space and they scored after an individual mistake at a set piece.

“Atletico created nothing from open play. We started to play more aggressively after half-time and had some good chances.

“We chose five defenders so we would have players to combat their set pieces. This also allowed our forwards more freedom. They didn't have to defend and could focus fully on attack.

“It's clear Atletico are in very good form right now. They are on a roll and they did not have the same problems we did, such as Hulk playing his first game after injury.

“Atletico are riding the crest of a wave and you can see the strong spirit that helped them to win the individual battles.”

Tags Spalletti Zenit