FC Porto is returning home for matchday 21 of Liga NOS. This Saturday, at 20h30, at Estádio do Dragão, the blue and whites face Sporting de Braga, a team that Sérgio Conceição knows well and that is currently fourth in the table. At the preview of the match, the coach assured that the tie in Moreira de Cónegos is already part of the past and believes in a strong response from the team against Braga.
The preparation never changes
“In the last match, although we had little room to play, we created opportunities to win and even with ease. We have good offensive dynamics and a lot of movement variability, so it’s not easy for the defenders. We tried to correct things we didn’t do so well, but we prepare all matches in the same way. Sporting de Braga is now a different team from the one we faced on the first turn. We think about our team, but we also look at the opponent. We see what their strengths are and how we can create difficulties. I think it's going to be a good match and we are prepared to get the most important: the three points.”
Normal and natural differences
“Like I’ve said before, Sporting de Braga is now a different team, but it’s normal and natural. Over time, teams evolve and assimilate processes better. Sporting de Braga greatly evolved as a team and as a club, but we have to look at ourselves and take on the responsibility of fighting to win the match. And actually win it, of course.”
Ready to compete
"Playing every three days means we're on several competitions, and that's a good thing. This has to serve as a motivation and not the other way around. A seven days microcycle is already starting to affect us, it feels like something is missing. During the season, this or that player might show more fatigue, but this is normal and natural. We have medical staff that follows the state of the players in the best possible way. The team is physically well and eager to win every battle.”
All points matter
“There are always daily tests here and all matches are important. Points are points, no matter who the opponent is. We may have more big matches than other teams, but the way we prepare all matches is the same. We are very demanding in our day to day work, so that matches are all faced in the same way. In FC Porto, we enjoy big, decisive matches.”
“Obviously, I was looking at three, four, or five players to get if possible, spending a lot of money, but we know the club's restrictions. You needed more options. To do a ten on ten training, we had to use the B team or the Under-19s. In that sense, it was important to have more solutions.”
Disagreement with Aboubakar and Soares?
“It actually makes me want to laugh. It's completely false, but I don’t comment stupid news.”
Changes to the UEFA list
“Gonçalo Paciência, as he was formed in FC Porto, didn’t force another player to leave the list. Osorio because, as is known, Felipe is banned from the first match with Liverpool. We decided, as coaches, to register Waris and remove Hernâni. Paulinho wasn’t registered, but he will be important for us, as will Hernani. Everyone will have opportunities because we will have many matches until the end of the season.”
The (constant) refereeing mistakes
“I'm worried as there are too many mistakes. When we win, those mistakes don’t receive hat much attention, but, in the matches where we tied, the only one when there were no cases was against Sporting. In the last match, against Moreirense, I think it's incredible how the referee didn’t flag a penalty for the play that involved Felipe. Moreirense’s goalkeeper punched Felipe in the face when the referee was ten meters away. And the video referee himself did nothing about it. How is this possible? We have been consecutively damaged by bad decisions and we haven’t been fortunate with the decisions of the referees.”