Zenit St. Petersburg manager Andre Villas-Boas has warned that he wants nothing less than the Russian title and a place among Europe's elite clubs next season.
"Our goal is to win the Russian league and to gain a place in Europe's top ten," the former Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur manager said after his side's 1-0 win yesterday in a pre-season friendly against German side Karlsruher. Last season Zenit finished runners-up to CSKA Moscow by just one point and were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in the last 16.
Villas-Boas, 36, said that he was happy with Zenit's signing of Argentinian international back Ezequiel Garay from Portuguese giants Benfica. "Zenit have been interested in purchasing Garay for a long time," Villas-Boas said.
"I also wanted to have a player of such a high class at my disposal. After I took over Zenit I asked club chiefs to speed up the talks with Benfica and finally we have got this fantastic footballer. Many of Europe's top sides were targeting Garay but he decided to chose Zenit and it gives us an opportunity to strengthen seriously the club's defensive line."
The Portuguese coach added he was also hoping that Zenit could further boost their line-up before season's start next month. "I hope that Zenit's activity on the transfer market isn't over yet," he said. "I believe that we will be able to play much more offensive football in the new season but we still need to sign one or two skilled players to strengthen some of the team's key positions."
Villas-Boas took over from Italian Luciano Spalletti last March on a two-year deal and became the first ever Russian Premier League manager to win his first six matches in charge. But he failed to lead Zenit to their fourth national title after the Saint Petersburg side were handed a 3-0 technical defeat for crowd trouble at their home match against league rivals Dynamo Moscow.