ST. PETERSBURG, September 26 (RIA Novosti)
(UPDATES with more quotes)
Brazilian forward Hulk feels "fantastic" at new club Zenit St. Petersburg but has told R-Sport that the language barrier is causing "certain difficulties" as he adapts to life in Russia.
Hulk has scored twice in four appearances since joining from Porto in a €40 million deal earlier this month, and the 26-year-old lauded the moral backing he has received from his teammates and the club as a whole so far.
"I think in time I will adapt, but of course the fact that they speak another language in Russia creates certain difficulties. Even so, I feel fantastic with the team.
"I'm happy to play for Zenit."
The high wages he has commanded with fellow new addition Axel Witsel has caused ructions in the team, with stalwart midfielder Igor Denisov axed from the first team for issuing a pay rise ultimatum after they arrived.
But Hulk said he felt no animosity in the dressing room.
"I feel the support of absolutely every member of the team, I'm trying to adapt to the team and to St. Petersburg in general as fast as possible," he told R-Sport.
"I don't have any problems with anyone. I'm just trying to do my job as best I acn. I'm really happy that I've been of use to my team in scoring goals."
Aside from Portuguese center half and former Porto teammate Bruno Alves, Hulk singled out midfielder Roman Shirokov as the man to have helped him settle the most.
"Shirokov is trying to help me blend in with the collective: He tries to talk to me, to play with me and involve me in the game."
Hulk scored his first goal in the surprise 2-2 draw against league strugglers Krylya Sovetov last week, and hit a second on Tuesday night in the 2-1 Russian Cup win over second-tier side Baltika.
A crossbar-rattling shot aside, Hulk was fairly anonymous in the 3-0 Champions League defeat to Malaga earlier this month.
He only has one victory in his four games at Zenit, but hopes to turn the tide against Lokomotiv Moscow on Saturday and AC Milan the following Wednesday. His side, the reigning champions, are in an unfamiliar fifth position after a slow start tot he season.
"We have two important matches ahead of us against Lokomotiv and Milan," Hulk said. "If we win these matches, we restore our confidence in our own abilities. We need two wins in these two matches, and only later will I think about my own goals."
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