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11/4/2017

Sérgio Conceição: “The players should be praised”

Coach didn’t forget the importance of the fans in the victory over the Belenenses (2-0)


FC Porto defeated Belenenses (2-0) at Estádio do Dragão, and remains strong in the lead of the Championship, now with 31 points won in 33 possible. At the end of the match, on matchday 11, Sérgio Conceição praised the justice of the blue and white victory, praising the players for the way they fought and the fans for being tireless in the support to the team.

The danger of a 1-0 result
“We passed the message to the players that this match was a final. With the score at 1-0, no team is comfortable, as the opponent can surprise in a set piece or a quick counter-attack. We prepared the match to be balanced in that moment. We started well, with good ball movement, and had little issues going into the last third of the pitch, but I think we lacked some depth and different movements. We should have shot more in the first-half.”

A victory also of the fans
“I think there is no doubt that our advantage at the break was fair. In the first 15 or 20 minutes of the second-half, Belenenses came out bolder and higher on the pitch, but we feel comfortable with that. Still, it was only natural that the team would suffer from fatigue, as we played three matches in eight days. We continued to look for the second goal, which only came close to the end, but it could have come earlier. It’s a very fair victory, which also belongs to the fans. When the team wasn’t well, they were instrumental in their support and belief. The FC Porto fans are demanding, but mostly in determination and desire to win. We haven’t won anything yet, but the fans see determination and ambition in this team. Championships are also won by this force that comes from outside the pitch. Even if things don’t go as we want, they always push us. Deep down, the fans identify with the team.”

Opponent with quality
“Belenenses was sixth in the table at the start of this matchday, and it's not by coincidence. They have a good coach, and the team knows what they’re doing on the pitch. We mustn’t forget that we don’t play alone, we face opponents that have quality. It's a fair victory, and we sent in a kid from the B team, which makes me happy. The players should be praised and now we have to rest and recover everyone.”

Herrera
“Herrera is an excellent player. I don’t have to comment the past. What I do know, and I said it to our president, is that I wanted to have a base from last season's squad, and Herrera was on that base. Players may go through bad momentums, but they are prepared for it. Herrera is confident, just like every other player in the team. We work hard and try to instil what we want from him on the pitch. It’s not by chance that he is captain. Besides being a great player, he is a great person.”

Reyes replacing Danilo
“I don’t understand the surprise. Whenever Reyes played, it was in the midfield. It has to do with everything that was prepared for this game. We had Aboubakar, a pure striker, whom we wanted to act as a reference. Behind him we had four players, who were asked to give width and make inside movements. We wanted the offensive availability of these four players. In terms of defence, Reyes was a defensive reference. Don’t be surprised as everything here is prepared in detail.”

Championship stopping
“It's a welcome stop for us, no questions about it.”

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