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Zenit Job Offers Villas-Boas A Chance at Redemption

Published: March 26, 2014 (Issue # 1803)


Coaching Russian title challengers, Zenit St. Petersburg offers Andre Villas-Boas a chance at redeeming his reputation after it was tarnished by unsuccessful spells with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, former Arsenal and England defender Nigel Winterburn has told R-Sport.

Villas-Boas, 36, was unveiled as Zenit coach Mar. 20, replacing Italian Luciano Spalletti, fired earlier this month after a poor run of form. The Portuguese boss won his first game in charge Monday evening 2-1 in a Russian Premier League clash against Krylya Sovetov Samara at home.

With Zenit out of the Champions League after a 5-4 aggregate loss to Borussia Dortmund, Villas-Boas has said his first priority is to take Zenit, who are second in the RPL, to their first Russian title for two years.

“I think Villas-Boas now, he really needs a club that will allow him to work in the way that he wants to work and probably give him two, even three years to establish himself back as a good young coach, because his reputation has been damaged,” Winterburn told R-Sport in a recent interview.

Villas-Boas won the Portuguese title and Europa League in 2011 with a Porto side that included Brazilian striker Hulk, now a key player for Zenit. After leaving Porto, he lasted just eight months as Chelsea manager before a 17-month stint with Spurs, leaving “by mutual consent” in December with the London side a lowly seventh in the league.

“He came with a very, very high reputation to England and I think that’s been damaged with how quickly he was fired by both clubs,” Winterburn said. “You can say he was fired unrealistically, he was fired too quickly, but I think Zenit is a club now that he needs to stay with and he needs to be given time to show what he can now do.”

R-Sport understands the 36-year-old’s contract is worth 8.5 million euros a year, a sum Winterburn described as “huge,” making the Portuguese coach one of the world’s best paid managers.

On Mar. 21, he said he had turned down an offer from Olympique Marseille to join Zenit.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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