Advocaat says he will 'definitely' get a Premiership job

DICK Advocaat will be solely focused on taking possession of the Uefa Cup for his Zenit St Petersburg side when he strides into the technical area at the City of Manchester Stadium tomorrow night.

The little Dutchman, however, may afford himself a brief moment to contemplate the prospect of a more extended stay on the touchlines of English Premier League grounds.

The former Rangers manager, whose coaching career has seen him travel far and wide for employment, has revealed an ambition to work in the world's highest profile league before he retires and he has no doubts it will be fulfilled.

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"It will definitely happen, me working in the Premiership," said Advocaat. "If the right club comes for me I will do it. It has been strange that it hasn't happened yet, because I feel I have done well in management.

"My first two years at Rangers were good, I won titles in Scotland, Holland and Russia. I've also been coach of Holland twice. When I was the coach of Holland for the second time, they eventually decided they wanted a younger man and went for Marco van Basten. But now people in charge of teams are looking at older guys like me, the ones who are around 60. Look at Giovanni Trapattoni: he is 68 and just got a four-year deal with the Republic of Ireland."

Advocaat came close to a return to international management earlier this year when he agreed in principle to take charge of Australia, only to pull out of the move when Zenit gave him a lucrative new contract in the wake of their Russian championship triumph.

"The Australians were annoyed with me and they were right to be annoyed," admits Advocaat. "I started speaking to them last March and April and said I would go there in June. I had it in my head that I would go there and I would have enjoyed that, but if I had refused the money Zenit had offered me, I would have been an idiot.

"We have a new president at Zenit and he came to me again recently and said he wants to go on with me, but I told him it is too early to discuss a new contract. I signed to go to Australia a year ago and I was totally happy to do that. I could have lived in Holland, had a house in England, I had even bought a new car.

"I could be with my wife and all the players are in England anyway. The salary was terrible, but that was not important; the way I could live was great. Fortunately, or unfortunately, my team started winning, playing easily and, as nobody in Moscow would expect, we became champions. Then they started pushing me to stay. They started talking with foreign coaches who had even higher salary demands than me."

Should Zenit succeed against Rangers tomorrow night, Advocaat may consider it is time to move on to his next adventure. Wherever he goes is unlikely to match his experience in charge of South Korea in 2006 which he recalled in colourful terms this week.

"I had an unbelievable nine months with South Korea. I was the king there," he said. "It was such a great experience. Do you know the singer Michael Bolton? I know him personally – he is very popular in South Korea.

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"But they only assigned two bodyguards to him when he toured there. They gave me nine bodyguards. I still think I am down to earth, but nine months was enough there, otherwise you will believe in yourself too much and have a really big head.

"Maybe to the outside world, it would be my biggest achievement if Zenit win the Uefa Cup, but I don't know. I love football and I have had so many good years in the game. I will see what happens if we win on Wednesday night."

Rangers may have been criticised for their cautious approach in European games this season, but Advocaat insists Smith should not change his style of play. Lionel Messi accused Rangers of playing "anti-football" against Barcelona in the Champions League, while Adrian Mutu branded the Ibrox leg of Fiorentina's semi-final "one ugly game of football".

But Advocaat believes Smith has been spot on with his approach in Europe and sees no reason why that should change.

"I don't think Walter should change his tactics," he said. "Rangers are more or less all international players and our players are as well.

"We are in the final, so I'm confident – why not?"