John van den Brom is hopeful that his RSC Anderlecht team can transfer their scoring form in Belgium to the UEFA Champions League, promising they would "take confidence from those league results" going into their must-win Group C meeting with FC Zenit St Petersburg. Visiting coach Luciano Spalletti acknowledged that Anderlecht were in good form but still believes his side are stronger.
John van den Brom, coach
The result at Zenit means there is more pressure on this match. If we still want to do something in Europe then we will have to win. Zenit are in a good situation but they also need to win here to stay in the Champions League after the winter. In the past week we have scored nine league goals, all from open play – no set pieces – so the fact that we have not scored in the Champions League this season should not be an issue. We know we need to score goals, so we will have to take care of that. We have taken confidence from those league results and also the way we played at Zenit. We will have to be patient as we do not need to win this match in the first ten minutes.
It is a shame that Hulk will not be playing. It is a shame for our fans that they will not be able to enjoy watching a player like that. We managed to control him in the previous match. Axel Witsel we also know is a quality player, and we will see what position he plays in.
Saturday: KV Mechelen 1-4 Anderlecht (Pedersen 81; Kouyaté 37, De Sutter 45 52 90+3)
Proto; Gillet, Kouyaté, Nuytinck, Safari (Odoi 77); Biglia (Kanu 70), Kljestan; Bruno, Praet, Jovanović (Yakovenko 63); De Sutter.
• Five of Tom De Sutter's six league goals this term have come in the last two games.
Olivier Deschacht (leg) and Ronald Vargas (knee) missed the weekend win with injuries sustained against KAA Gent last Tuesday. Behrang Safari went off on Saturday with a groin problem but is fit to face Zenit. Dieudonné Mbokani has a broken nose, but can play thanks to a protective mask.
Luciano Spalletti, coach
Both sides have to win. We will see how the game starts and develops, and each team will have to adapt to what happens. Both teams play an attacking game, and I think both will play that way because they need the points. Anderlecht are a very strong team with a good coach and players and they are going through a good spell, which makes it even harder for us. Sometimes a match can go one way or the other because of an individual moment of brilliance or a mistake, but if Zenit are at our best we will win.
Axel Witsel is a versatile player so he can play everywhere. Of course when a player arrives at a club he needs some time to adapt to the gameplan, but the more he plays the better he feels.
Friday: Zenit 2-1 FC Rostov (Bystrov 51, Shirokov 90+4; Holenda 79)
Malafeev; Criscito, Alves, Lombaerts, Yanbaev; Witsel, Zyryanov (Danny 82), Shirokov, Fayzulin (Denisov 59); Hulk (Bystrov 41), Kerzhakov.
• Zenit have won their last six games in all competitions, their best sequence since a run of ten successive victories between April and July 2010.
• Igor Denisov came on against Rostov, his first appearance since 18 September because of disciplinary measures at the club.
Danny was also a substitute against Rostov, his first outing since facing FC Porto in December last year prior to the cruciate knee ligament injury he sustained on 5 February. Spalletti suggested that he would "probably" not feature from the start and also confirmed that there were "no more injured players" besides Hulk (hamstring).
Anderlecht are seeking a first UEFA Champions League victory in nine years at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. They have lost eight and drawn two of ten group stage fixtures in the competition since a 1-0 win against Olympique Lyonnais in November 2003.
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