"We will have to be at our best"
In the fight for the title, FC Porto has a hard opponent to beat. Estádio da Choupana, home of Nacional, poses difficulties to any team and the Dragons will have to be on their toes to win, Friday (19h00). At the press conference, Vítor Pereira assured the white and blues will not repeat the same mistakes of the game against Académica.
How do you see the game against Nacional?
It is a fundamental game, and we want the three points. We know Choupana isn’t easy for any team. We will have to be at our best to win.
How did the team work during the week?
We trained well. We reviewed the game against Académica, we took some conclusions and will correct the bad parts.
Do you feel the team is focused in the fight for the title?
Those who wear our jersey are committed in every match, training session and moment of the club.
What was the team’s reaction to your statement of “making it easy” for the opponents?
I could have gone for the easiest path, to blame the referee. We will be playing Nacional without Hulk, for an unfair decision. I chose not to go there, but to look at what we did instead, what we did wrong. We’ve seen and analysed the game and realize where we failed and what the opponent did right. We took our conclusions and did our weekly job to correct our mistakes. It will be a different match in Choupana, that’s for sure.
Has the small one point advantage conditioned the work? Do you feel the players are disturbed?
No. This point reflects the competitiveness of our League. It is a short distance, which forces us to stay sharp, concentrated and focused in the next match. If we were five points behind, we would still be focused on Nacional, meaning we took nothing for granted when we were three points ahead. We have to play to win, always, we have to.
What is the reason for this inconstancy in results, a home draw after winning in Estádio da Luz?
The other teams will fail as well. FC Porto played against Benfica and then Académica, and those are two teams that can’t be compared in terms of dynamics and positioning. We know we didn’t do our best against Académica, especially during the first half. We have to have a full game with quality and when that doesn’t happen we obviously lose points. But I didn’t mean the players didn’t want to win, they just couldn’t. Académica is past now and we want to win the next match. We weren’t champions when we had three points to spare and the league wasn’t lost three or four games ago.
How do you see the final eight games, considering the possibility of no relegations?
It’s tremendously irresponsible to claim there’s fairness in this decision. Only if you’re aiming for a false League. I can’t even imagine that happening.
Considering the absences of Hulk and Fernando, how will you arrange the team?
We regret they aren’t available, but those who do play will have a good performance and play as are expected to.
What do you think of Rolando’s reaction when he was replaced against Académica?
What motivated that reaction was his will to help the team and to be substituted in a time like that. As for the way one reacts, I am here to talk openly with the player and the rest of the team. The situation is over. Those who live for football, know that, most of the time, the heat of the moment doesn’t reflect what we are really feeling.
Does FC Porto have an advantage for playing before Benfica does, for the second consecutive week?
Honestly, I don’t think so.