Zenit St Petersburg appoint ex-Shakhtar boss Mircea Lucescu

Zenit St Petersburg have announced the appointment of former Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu on a two-year contract.

Lucescu will replace Andre Villas-Boas, who led Zenit to third place in the Russian league and missed qualification for next season's Champions League.

Former Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham boss Villas-Boas had announced in September that he would leave at the end of the season and said last month that he expects to take a year off.

He will be replaced by Lucescu, 70, who has previously coached the Romania national team and Inter Milan.

In 12 years with Shakhtar, the Romanian won eight Ukrainian league titles and the 2009 UEFA Cup.

Lucescu told Zenit's official website: "I have to meet with the players, get to know and understand their ambitions, motivations, desires and dreams to win in Russia and Europe.

"Zenit have very strong players, but I do not want to start with criticism. I want to develop the team and the result depends on our joint work. I have to learn all their strengths and knowledge and help the young players. I like working with young people. They have the enthusiasm and the desire to try hard."

He added: "I hope that I will become the Manager for them, because everything we do, we do it for the fans. Without them, there isn't a good team. And I want to be sure that they will take to me.

"They have to trust the players to trust the club, to trust all of us and I want to assure them that we will give everything to make them happy."

Shakhtar announced that their 2-0 win over Zorya Luhansk in the Ukraine Cup final was Lucescu's last match with the club. They have spent two years playing home matches in Lviv because of conflict between government and pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.