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Hulk's wandering road to Brazil

Brazil May 29, 2014
Read
ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Mar 20, 2014

Villas-Boas ready for Zenit success

Andre Villas-Boas was presented as the new coach of Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday.

Andre Villas-Boas has outlined his desire to create a legacy of success at Zenit St Petersburg, starting with winning the Russian Premier League title.

• Yokhin: Spalletti's demise at Zenit
• Criscito: Villas-Boas the right choice for Zenit
• Brassell: AVB takes tough option at Zenit

Former Chelsea and Tottenham coach Villas-Boas was unveiled as the club’s new manager, and he believes that they make a good match.

He told his first news conference for the club on Thursday: "Zenit are a club that suits my ambitions, and I aspire to reach great success here.

"The first goal is to win the Russian title this season, and I believe we can win the remaining nine fixtures. I saw the passion of players in Dortmund, and together we can reach our goals."

Luciano Spalletti was sacked following a number of poor results including a 4-2 home reverse against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and a goalless draw against Tom Tomsk which saw Zenit replaced at the top of the Russian Premier League by Lokomotiv Moscow.

"I want to thank Luciano Spalletti who wrote an important chapter in the history of the club" Villas-Boas added. "I also hope to leave good memories behind me."

And the 36-year-old Portuguese, who is now on his fifth management job in five years, dismissed the idea that settling in Russia could present a problem.

He said: "I don't think that Russian mentality could be an obstacle. I am stunned with the beauty of your city that was built by Peter the Great.

"That's what I want to do with the team -- to build it like the tsar built the city. This is my first time in St Petersburg, the city is fantastic. I've read a lot about it.

"I achieved success in all of my teams. I won four titles with Porto, reached Champions League quarter finals with Chelsea, and the team later won the trophy. Tottenham had a good run in the Premier League.

"There were some mistakes, but the results are clear for all to see. As for my exit from Tottenham, there were contract issues there.

"I got an offer from Zenit last week, and the negotiations were fruitful. I was easy to agree, and I am glad to be here."

Villas-Boas is bringing his own coaching staff with him, but will retain Sergei Semak as his assistant. Former Russia captain Semak, who became Spalletti's No. 2 after retiring from playing last summer, had been Zenit's caretaker for the second leg of the Dortmund tie and last weekend's 1-0 loss at CSKA Moscow. 

Meanwhile, Zenit president Aleksandr Dyukov denied that Villas-Boas will get an annual salary of 8.5 million euros, saying: "These reports are way too high.

"The fact that AVB knows Hulk and other Portuguese players was taken into consideration, but he wasn't the most important.

"The important thing is that his footballing philosophy suits us and that he is a qualified specialist who knows how to get his ideas to players.

"I am surprised to hear reports that Hulk was involved in the negotiations, that is not true."

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