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Spalletti wary of weakened Atletico
Nov 25, 2013 1:29 PM EST
Luciano Spalletti does not think Zenit St Petersburg will gain any advantage from Atletico Madrid fielding a weakened team on Tuesday.
The two sides meet in the fifth game of their UEFA Champions League group with Zenit knowing that a win could secure their place in the last 16.
Atletico have already won the group after four wins in their opening four matches, and Diego Simeone has suggested he will give some of his players a rest for the trip to Russia.
"I'd prefer Atletico to bring all their players here," Spalletti said. "I read that four or five important players have remained in Madrid.
"Well, if I list all of our losses to you – (Cristian) Ansaldi, (Alexander) Anyukov, Danny, (Vyacheslav) Malafeev, then I think the situation is comparable.
"I don't see any advantage for us here. I only see danger that the guys may think the game will be easier for us, but that's absolutely not so."
Spalletti will have Nicolas Lombaerts available after the Belgian defender returned to training following an ankle injury, and the Italian revealed the 28-year-old may start the game due to their injury crisis.
"Lombaerts trained yesterday (Sunday), and had a good practice," he added.
"We're going to use four defenders, we're not going to use five defenders simply because we don't have five defenders available for the match."
Zenit come into the match without a win in their last five games in all competitions, and will be hoping to gain revenge for their 3-1 defeat in Madrid two months ago.