Rumori di Spogliatoio

Sergei Zenjov: José Riga needs help from the chairman

Angelo PalmeriComment
Sergei Zenjov and Jose Riga (

Sergei Zenjov and Jose Riga (

Rumori caught up with Sergei Zenjov in the post-game of Estonia vs. Slovenia. It was a successful game for the Baltic national team as they managed to go past Slovenia (nr.38 in the FIFA ranking) with a 1-0 win. A good performance by Sergei who mostly focused on the defensive phase, ‘Rumori’ evaluated him with a 6.

Upon congratulating him for the birth of his baby son, Nikita, we discover that he talked over the phone with José Riga and the Belgian coach granted him two extra days in Tallinn to spend with his enlarged family.

On Thursday, he will be back to England to resume work with the squad.

The question is, who will be the coach at his return in Blackpool?

We recounted Sergei about the speculations made on Blackpool Gazette (reported here by ‘Rumori’) that, apparently, Riga’s job would be at risk.

We didn’t talk about this’ confessed Sergei ‘we just discussed my return date, he is definitely there after resuming trainings with the other lads.’

Sergei is honest in saying that he has a good relation with Riga and, after all, he understands the way he speaks English, a language the Estonian striker does not yet master perfectly. When I tell him that Riga’s replacement name made is a Scottish coach (Owen Coyle), he agrees that understanding that accent would be quite hard.

Do you think it would be a good thing to change the coach right now, after just 6 games and considering the situation the team lived through at start of season?

(Sighs –edit) It’s a very hard question, and I don’t know if that would help. Jose Riga is a very good coach. He has been trying, trying and trying. However, it is hard when the chairman doesn’t help him.

In an interview to local Estonian media, you said English football is more physical, what do you find most difficult there?

I confirm, it’s very physical, strong, fast. Well, certainly it doesn’t help that I am not a big guy (laughs –edit). Before starting in the Championship, I could not think it was such a fast game. I thought to be fast…then I started to play there and realized how faster it is.

The fans have been a bit critical with you, questioning your level, where you come from...what can you answer?

I think the reason for the scepticism is that they do not know much about other leagues and obviously tend to think English football is the best game – what is this Ukrainian league? – they might ask themselves. However, I can tell that the level is good there. Take Vidic, he went to United from Spartak Moscow. It’s not easy when you come from Russian or Ukrainian league to play in England, it’s a different type of football.

When do you think your performance will meet the expectations?

I am not able to tell, I work everyday. I just need to do that. When the team goes well, things will go well for me too.