Nuno: Zenit aren’t just Hulk

Nuno Santo warns Valencia not to be preoccupied with stopping Hulk when Zenit St Petersburg visit Mestalla.

Los Che begin the Champions League group stage at home to the Russians but there’s likely to be a disappointing attendance, despite the club urging fans to turn out in their number.

“What you need to consider is that this is a game that’s on a long road,” Nuno said, AS reports, when the topic was raised at his pre-match Press conference.

“It’s the game that’s after the 40 we’ve already had, many of them at home, when there was in total more than 1m fans.

“Of course I love it when there’s a great atmosphere. I’d appeal to those who can still come to do so and we’ll see another epic at Mestalla.”

Regarding the events on the field, Nuno considers his side to be in good form, but doesn’t want Hulk to dominate his players’ thoughts.

“We have a squad with quality and depth, which means all players are an option. With no mishaps everyone’s available,” he noted, barring stricken goalkeeper Matt Ryan.

“The group is balanced. All four are fighting for the two qualifying positions. We want to be there but we know it will be difficult. Everyone’s here on merit. We want to get as far as possible.

“Hulk is a player we know well. He’s characterised by his power. But Zenit’s team isn’t only Hulk. We’ve analysed their squad and know where the difficulties are.

“The conditions for the friendly we played last year were different. Zenit were at a different point. We’ve analysed their recent games.

“There’s no fear. It doesn’t exist. There’s a challenge and we want to win. We want to win every game.

“We know the opponent, their players, their process. We expect a competitive team, with good lines, internationals and respect and humility as we always have.

“I know Andre Villas-Boas, I worked with him. We’re friends. We’ve had many conversations. I respect and admire him but in the match he is my adversary.”

Tags Hulk Nuno Santo Zenit St Petersburg