Faltering Zenit suffered a third straight defeat with a late loss at German giants Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, continuing a poor run of results that has seen Semak come under scrutiny amid rumors that former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is being lined up to replace him.

The beleaguered boss was expected to deliver in Europe but has guided his side to defeats in both of their Champions League group stage games so far, leading to his stepdaughter – socialite and sportswoman Maya – taking to social media to address “a lot of criticism”.

“I love Zenit in the bright moments of victory and the difficult days of defeat,” she insisted, complaining that there had been “so few words of support when it’s really needed” from fans.

“For some reason, a lot of people I don’t know think it’s necessary to write some nasty words and insults to me.

“So I’m blocking people like that because my family is sacred. My club. For my family, I’m a mountain.

“And for my beloved Zenit. Love Zenit more than you love victory. There are a lot more [wins] ahead. My dad is the best and I love him a lot.”

Semak’s stepdaughter is said to be a leading sled competitor whose enthusiasm for fashion is evident on Instagram. The 20-year-old has developed a particular interest in stylish maternity clothes after recently giving birth to her first child, having initially announced her pregnancy with her 21-year-old management graduate boyfriend on social media.

Earlier this year, she told Sportmail that she had withheld the identity of her famous father, who guided Zenit to the Russian league and cup double last season after winning the Russian Premier League in his first season at the club, from her lover for six months.

Semak’s glamorous wife, Anna, told her huge fanbase of more than a million Instagram followers that she was overjoyed when her daughter gave birth.

“I immediately warned her not to even think about nannies,” said Semak’s second wife.

“A young rock and roll grandmother who drives a boat is both a best friend and the most reliable care.”

Maya is Anna’s only child from her previous marriage, while Semak also had a son with his ex-wife.

The couple have had five children together, and Maya has portrayed herself attending Zenit home matches at St. Petersburg’s Gazprom Arena while wearing a team shirt with her name on the back.

Her mother appeared to be enjoying herself at a cocktail bar while Zenit were playing in Dortmund on Wednesday night, later sharing Maya’s post after goals in the final 15 minutes by England international Jadon Sancho and striking sensation Erling Haaland consigned Zenit to defeat.

Speaking after the match, Semak admitted: “Borussia played well and pressed a lot, so we didn’t get good attacking opportunities.

“As for the defense, there were several fundamental mistakes in the first half. We played better in the second half but, unfortunately, we made a mistake in a simple situation, which led to a penalty.

“After that, we tried to sharpen our game a little, to use our resources, but we failed to equalize and in stoppage time we also conceded the second goal.

“Both victories and defeats are part of the job. For today’s match, it was possible to win but difficult.

“As for [the previous defeats against] Club Brugge and Rubin, it happens; we played better but victories don’t always come when you expect them. We need to be patient and prepare for the next match.”

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