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Spalletti lauds eliminated Zenit's fighting spirit

Wednesday 21 November 2012 21.40 CET
Zenit defender Nicolas Lombaerts stretches to challenge Málaga's Diego Buonanotte

Luciano Spalletti, Zenit coach
We had to be the more proactive team from the off but we lacked balance and conceded from a counterattack. The second goal they scored came from a really strange mistake. It was a hard match and our morale really suffered. I decided to avoid making changes during the break. Some players played poorly in the first half and they had to make amends.

I have to thank the boys now, though. They reacted in just the right way and created many chances to score. We showed our character – it's just a pity we couldn't take all three points. We managed to get only a draw, but I still believe our fans will not be too disappointed. I saw that they really appreciated our efforts after the break.

Manuel Pellegrini, Málaga coach
I am delighted for a number of reasons – for the players who were given the opportunity to play, for guaranteeing top spot in the group and for keeping our squad more or less rested. We put in a good first-half performance, pressed hard up front and played the ball around well. We had a good [two-goal] advantage, which unfortunately we couldn't hold on to.

We had chances to score a third but that goal didn't come. I don't know if you can say we are going through a bad spell [five games without a win in all competitions] – we're still among the European spots in the Liga and are in first place in our Champions League group.

It's true that we've lost two at home on the domestic front recently but you never really know which games are going to be hard and which might be easier. We have to look for more points in the Liga between now and December.

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