Saint Petersburg - Russian league leaders Zenit St Petersburg are warming up for the upcoming Europa League clash against Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven with a working break in Spain.
Coach Andre Villas-Boas is counting on a diet of friendlies, the latest a 3-0 win over Spanish second tier side Real Betis on Monday, will give Zenit the edge against PSV.
"This friendly was a good test of our readiness ahead of the matches with PSV," the former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur boss told the club's website.
"As we could see in the first 10 minutes it was tough for us to play against the team that is always moving forward, not stopping on the attack. That's what it's going to be like with PSV, when we need to get into the rhythm fast.
"But on the whole - from a physical and an emotional point of view, we are fresh and have enough strength for the second half of the season...I'm happy with our work here."
Also read: Leverkusen out to bounce back at Zenit
Zenit, knocked out of the Champions League, have returned from their winter break determined to win the Europa League title.
They face PSV away on February 19 with the home leg of the round of 32 a week later.
"What's important right now is that the team should find again their playing rhythm which they could lose in the mid-season," Villas-Boas said.
"That's why we are trying to have as many friendlies as we can. Of course, these games can't give us the same kind of emotions as an actual competition, but we've got a match against Valencia ahead and this is going to be a very, very good test.
"We know what we want to do from a football point of view and we'll see whether we can do the same from the point of view of our rhythm."
Zenit are top the Russian Premiership with 41 points from 17 matches, seven clear of champions CSKA Moscow.
The league restarts after the winter lay-off on March 7.
For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.