On his first visit to our stadium, we sat down with new manager Paolo Vanoli to discuss his coaching career thus far, relationship with Antonio Conte, and a host of other things. The interview in full is given below:
Q: Mister, welcome to Russia! How are you feeling?
A: Thank you very much for your welcome. It is an honour for me to be part of such a great club. At the moment, we are immersing ourselves in the history of the club, and trying to understand the culture within the club. This is very important.
Q: You famously won the 1999 UEFA Cup here in Moscow. You must have good memories of our city?
A: Yes, in 1999 I scored for Parma in our UEFA Cup final against Marseille, that game was at the Luzhniki. Now, I begin my independent coaching career here, it seems as if Moscow is my destiny.
Q: You have a good record of scoring in, and winning cup competitions. Do you see Spartak becoming a ‘cup team’ under your stewardship?
A: Spartak must be a team that is ready to win any match. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cup game or a league game. We must always be ready to play in an orderly and effective manner.
Q: You were part of Antonio Conte’s staff at both Chelsea and Inter. He recently became the manager of Tottenham, but without you. Was this your choice?
A: I would like to take a moment to thank Antonio for the work we did together, he is one of the best coaches in the world for me. It was great working with him, but now the time has really come for me to start my own career.
Q: Is it correct to say that you will be the successor to Conte’s ideas? What other coaches have influenced your philosophy?
A: Of course. When you work with such great coaches, you try to take the best aspects from them and develop yourself. For example, in the Italian setup, I worked with Arrigo Sacchi. The experience of seeing and absorbing the work these professionals do is invaluable. This is one of the keys to success. I will take some ideas that I have learnt, but there will also be my own ideas.
Q: Before working with Conte, you coached a number of Italy’s youth teams. However, you've never been a manager at senior level. Are you ready for the challenge now?
A: The last coach that won Spartak the title was Massimo Carrera, who also did not have much senior experience before joining. I hope this is a good omen.
As for the youth, I always believe in them. I have worked a lot with young footballers in Italy. The players must constantly grow and develop, and for this they need to be properly motivated.
Q: Carrera was Conte’s assistant before he joined Spartak as well. Did you communicate with him?
A: Of course, I talked to Massimo about Spartak to understand the situation. He made history at the club, and I want to repeat his path to some extent.
Q: Coaches are broadly divided into two categories - theorists and motivators. Which one do you belong to?
A: I hope I will be able to combine both aspects. I will try to be a good motivator and a good tactician, both things are very important for success.
Q: Who will be helping you at Spartak?
A: My assistant will be Marco Donadel. In addition I have a fitness coach in Giampiero Ascenzi, an analyst in Andrea Bianchi, and a goalkeeping coach in Marco Zuccher.
Q: Victor Moses played at both Chelsea and Inter. Will you rely on him to be one of the leaders at the club?
A: Victor is an excellent player, but everyone should be a leader. Besides Moses, there are also many great players that we have.
Q: Spartak topped its Europa League group, but is only ninth in the RPL. What do you think is the main problem within the team, and how do you plan on rectifying the situation?
A: I would like to appreciate the players and the previous coach, who achieved a lot for the club. We must work on our mentality and psychology. It shouldn’t be that we achieved good results in Europe, but are so low in the national championship. We must be equally competitive internationally, and in Russia.
Q: This spring, Spartak will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Your decision to join a club at such a crucial juncture is very bold.
A: I agreed to work for Spartak because I believe in the team. I can promise this: I will be absolutely sincere, give all my passion and work at 100% capacity all the time.
Q: What are your immediate plans?
A: First, we need to understand how the club and team work, how the infrastructure is, and so on. After that, we’ll roll up our sleeves and start preparing for the new year.