"I think AC Milan are the favourites to win this group, even though they have lost two important players," he is quoted as saying by Uefa.com.
"Zenit, Malaga and Anderlecht are teams that can cause problems for Milan. I know how I will motivate my players to reach the next stage."
Looking ahead to Zenit's opening game against the Spanish club, Spalletti admitted that it will not be easy to win.
"We will only be able to discover Málaga's weaknesses if we play our best for the entire game," he said.
"They have good, experienced players like Isco, [Martin] Demichelis, [Nacho] Monreal, [Ignacio] Camacho, [Jeremy] Toulalan and [Javier] Saviola. This team always tries to control the game.
"Malaga have a great squad but we don't envy them – we are strong too. A coach has to instil a winning mentality, but the team has to win once the game starts."
In the other game in Group C on Tuesday, AC Milan will host Anderlecht at San Siro.