FC Porto returned to victories this Saturday, against Sporting de Braga (3-1), at Estádio do Dragão, and Sérgio Conceição was obviously pleased with the result, but also with the team's performance, “as they understood the strategy for the match perfectly”, and the match was “a good showcase of Portuguese football”. The coach considered the first-half “fantastic” and the advantage at halftime should have been bigger given what the team produced.
Sérgio Conceição also praised how all players celebrated the third goal, another proof to the good team spirit that remains in a “healthy” squad. “There was a fantastic reaction to our goal, all players share a great spirit and nothing coming from outside will disturb us, no news or mistrust.”
Advantage before the break was short
“It was a good showcase of Portuguese football, a good match between two good teams, but we started strong and aggressive, trying to condition Braga at the very start of their plays. And I think we got it, we did a fantastic first-half - the team was very cohesive, aware of where and how to condition the opponent. We scored the goal and we had two or three opportunities to extend the lead. Then we conceded the tie from a set piece, but we didn’t lose intensity, we continued to look for the advantage. Reaching the break winning by the minimum margin is short for what we did. The team went in very well in terms of offensive dynamics and conditioned Braga, who hardly ever played with criteria during the first-half. In fact, the team interpreted our strategy for the match perfectly.”
“The second-half was more divided, we also started strong, and had one or two situations to score. After we made it 3-1, we gave a little of the initiative to Braga, partially by strategy, and my substitutions were in that sense. We played an excellent match, we beat a good team, with a fantastic support, and the referee team wasn’t that bad - we can discuss a decision here or there, but that's part of the game.”
“We have 24 players for the starting team. Sérgio Oliveira has already started in other theoretically more difficult matches. Last week, I felt that Herrera could benefit from playing next to be someone with Óliver’s characteristics. And today I felt that Sérgio would fit well, he has a fantastic behaviour every day in training. A word to those who didn’t play. Today, we had three players out, I can’t forget André André and Danilo, who are injured. Everyone is important, there was a fantastic reaction to our goal, all players share a very good spirit and nothing coming from outside will disturb us, no news or mistrust. Our squad is healthy in terms of spirit.”