Dmitry Kulagin: “You have to suffer some losses if you want to reach the next level”

Zenit’s defender, Dmitry Kulagin, gathered his thoughts and offered some impressions from the loss against Union Olympia. In the end, he gave us not only his commentary, but a heartfelt monologue and an attempt to explain what is working with the team and what might explain some of their losses.
Dmitry Kulagin: “You have to suffer some losses if you want to reach the next level”

— We started the match really poorly today, had a really repulsive first half of the match, gave up a lot of rebounds and allowed a lot of open shots. We also had a lot of fouls early on in the game too. I don’t personally have the right to speak about the referee, but these fouls really took us down and out of the game.

A lot of players got in the game that usually don’t get a lot of time on the court. I’m convinced that every player should be able to show their chance and potential, but it’s definitely very tough to show your best when you don’t have a lot of playing time under your belt. I’m glad that some of our younger players were able to play and fight, to show some pretty good basketball, especially in the second half of the match.

We talked to the guys a lot after the match and decided that we are going to do everything we can to work harder, to try harder, to do everything we have to hang on for those needed victories and to make it through the group. I hope that this will work out for us. The most important thing is that we as a team remain a good and strong collective. We don’t have any tension, any big disagreements, and everything that we do, we do together and that’s just as it should be.

We were able to play pretty well a few times during the game, we fought and sunk our teeth into the game. Honestly, I really can’t even explain why we lost. There’s just something that we’re missing, something incredibly small. But where we should look for this, to find it, I also don’t really know. This is part of sports though, one day you win, another you lose, but that’s also not right for it to work that way too. We really are working hard each day, with all of our strength, but we’re still waiting for that win.

We really need to have that big win. It’s important to have a confident victory, without a tight finish like the one we had with VEF. We have to tear apart our opponent, and when we do, we’ll have the courage, we’ll feel more confident but maybe it’s not confidence, we’ll take more risks and then it’ll already be a totally different kind of basketball.

Today the team trusted me with a lot of shots, the team trusted me, the staff trusted me, and I missed a lot, to the point where it’s ust shameful. I’m always working on my shots, working on the attack, but today that’s just how it went. I’m not losing faith in our ability to win. But I really want to win today, right now and not at some point in the future.

All of these losses tear me up, get me angry and motivate me. Of course, losing is never a good feeling, but I’m not going to just sit and tear out my hair. I’m going to continue to work, even looking and reanalyzing my game and talk to the staff about it. I’m going to continue to train and play.

This is sport, this is life, you can’t always win. In order to become the best, to make it to a higher level, you have to endure these kinds of losses.