Zenit boss Sergei Semak has heaped praise on Thomas Tuchel’s “well-oiled” Chelsea system.
Chelsea will travel to face Zenit in St Petersburg on Wednesday, where the Blues can seal top spot in Champions League Group H.
If the Premier League side equal or better Juventus’ result against Malmo they will secure first place and a potentially more favourable last-16 draw.
Chelsea ground past Zenit 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in September, but Semak knows the quality of craftsmanship that manager Tuchel has put into refining his tactical set-up.
“You’re talking about individual players but I would like to point out the importance of the system in general, they are like a German machine, well-oiled,” said Semak.
“Every person on the pitch knows what to do and how to do it.
So I would like to refrain from talking about individual qualities, and concentrate more on Chelsea as a team.”
Zenit cannot progress in the Champions League, but that will not stop the hosts throwing everything at Wednesday’s contest.
“Playing in the Champions League is always a motivator in itself,” said Semak.
“We always want to show our best. It doesn’t always happen but it doesn’t mean we won’t try and it doesn’t mean we won’t try to show our best qualities.”
Former Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren should line up against Chelsea and warned his Zenit team-mates to expect an attacking approach from the visitors.
“Chelsea are a top team and the philosophy of the coach, he always wants to win, and I don’t think they will come tomorrow and sit back and wait for anything,” said Lovren.
“They know what they want, they have this system how they want to play.
Dejan Lovren: "We have nothing to lose so we should enjoy the game"— FC Zenit in English✨ (@fczenit_en) December 7, 2021
Zenit captain @Dejan06Lovren spoke to the media ahead of the visit of Chelsea tomorrow in the @ChampionsLeague #ZENCHE #UCL
📰 https://t.co/wDURHe1x7r pic.twitter.com/1pj990NxfZ
“Injury-wise maybe it’s a plus for us but if we defend well, all together, we did it in the first game there, and we will have our chances for sure and we should use them. And that’s all that matters for us.
“We are really focused, we will play for pride, for the badge of the club, especially at home in front of our supporters.
“We want to finish with our heads held high, we have nothing to lose so we should enjoy the game and play our best football.”