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Sérgio Conceição: “We really want to give a positive response”

FC Porto coach previewed the match against Paços de Ferreira, for matchday nine of the Championship (Saturday, 20h30)

FC Porto is back home for matchday nine of Liga NOS. This Saturday (20h30), at Estádio do Dragão, the blue and whites will face Paços de Ferreira, currently tenth in the table. Aware of the difficulties that the opponent will try to create to the Dragons, and after another European game midweek, Sérgio Conceição believes that the team will return to the usual level against the next opponent. The return to victories is, of course, the main objective of the leaders of the Championship.

The European defeat
“We didn’t expect the defeat in Leipzig, but it’s already part of the past. We analysed to the maximum the many mistakes we made, unusual for FC Porto this season. Now we need to move forward from the Champions League and focus on the most important goal, which is the Championship. Statistically and theoretically, you might think it will be easy, but numbers and theory mean nothing. Paços de Ferreira will try to complicate our task to the maximum, but we are already used to these difficulties. We have to cancel their will and ambition to surprise us.”

José Sá in the starting team in Leipzig
“It was an option. I always said that all players are available and able to compete for a spot in the team. There are fundamental characteristics in the choices of players, such as the opponent, the player himself and his training week. There has to be internal competitiveness and I, as the leader of the team, have to promote this competitiveness. The great reference of FC Porto is its president, who has already won 58 titles and is quite simply the most titled president of football. People talk of Casillas on the bench, but no one questions the fact that Julio César, for example, is on Benfica’s bench. There is nothing to say about Iker, who behaves fantastically, in line with what I want. What has been said is ridiculous. I don’t understand this whole fuss. Why do you question a simple technical option so much?”

The differences between José Sá and Svilar
“José Sá mistake was heavily criticized, but that of another goalkeeper was forgiven or excused. Maybe it's due to the fact that José Sá has a very long beard and the other goalkeeper doesn’t have any hair on his face. After Rui Patrício, José Sá is the goalkeeper in the best conditions to defend Portugal’s goal. I find it strange how the two cases were handled, and I think it's especially serious because José Sá is Portuguese.”

The comfort of Estádio do Dragão
“In front of our fans, it is important to give a positive answer after what was, in my view, the worst game of the season. Whether at home or away, we have a great desire to show what the DNA of FC Porto is. We have all the ambition in the world to get the three points, plus a great determination and desire to play well.”

Response worthy of the Dragon
“After you win a match, you feel you have to win the next one. After a not so good match, you have to overcome that moment and show that you are FC Porto, a team that fights for all victories and titles. That will continue tomorrow. If there are times when the team has to learn and feel that something was not right, this is one of them. Humility, work, and focus are essential. You have to work on the edge and not relax at any time. We have a great responsibility, which is to represent FC Porto, and we want to give a positive response, in terms of the greatness of the club. I assume here today that we will also give a full response of what FC Porto is also in the UEFA Champions League.”

Apologies to the fans that were in Leipzig
“I have to apologize for not thanking the fans at the end of the match in Leipzig. I did not have the clear mind, at that moment, to thank the support of our fans. The life of a coach is not easy either before, during or after a match. When I realized it, I went back, but it was too late. My apologies to the fans and also to the players, as we didn’t do our usual circle. This circle symbolizes the strength of our squad.”

The victims of the fires and Tengarrinha
“I want to leave a very heartfelt word to the families of the victims of the fires. I also had one or another member of my family involved in this fire disaster. In addition, I also take the opportunity to leave a word to Tengarrinha (a former FC Porto player) who has a health problem. A word of sympathy from the whole team of FC Porto to him.”

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