Matchday 16, the first of 2018, takes FC Porto to the home of Feirense on Wednesday (20h15), and Sporting (vice-leader, with the same points as the Dragons) to the home of Benfica. Still, Sérgio Conceição stated in press conference that he doesn’t expect this to be a decisive day to find the winner of the competition. The coach turns his attention to the performance of his team and to the way they will have to adjust to a smaller and possibly heavy pitch.
The game plan
“Tomorrow, we will play on a pitch with different dimensions to what we are used to, the state of the pitch will not be the best possible, but we have to overcome all these possible difficulties and not think much of it. We have to think of what we have to do to win the match. I hope the pitch is in good conditions; if that’s the case, it will be easier for us, as we have more technically advanced players. If that’s not the case, we will have to do what we’ve done before, reach the halftime and define different things: play more directly, with less support.”
An eye on the classic?
“I'm not just saying this, but we're very focused on our match. If we win, we can gain distance from both or one of our rivals. The important thing is to do our job and then whatever comes will be good. Nothing is decisive, we are not even halfway through the Championship. This Wednesday will not decide anything, there are many matches to go. It's not a decisive Wednesday, in my opinion.”
Analysing the opponent
“Feirense tries to be a well-organized defensive team and has been showing consistency against the big teams. We also create goal situations and it’s no coincidence that we are the team with the most goals scored. I don’t pay much attention to statistics, every match is different. I know Nuno [Manta, coach of Feirense], we studied for the fourth coaching level together, for a month. He knows how to organize the team well and how to motivate the players, and they will have the typical setting and atmosphere of facing a big team.”
Feirense at the bottom of the table
“We don’t look at the opponent in terms of difference in points, we look at what they can do, their strengths and weaknesses. It will be a difficult match, with the opponent eager to end the less positive cycle they are in, but we have to fundamentally think of what our goal is. We have to look at ourselves and not find any kind of excuses.”
The set pieces
“More and more, set pieces are fundamental. They are part of the match, we have to train these moments and take advantage of the features of the players available. They are tall, good in the aerial game and it is not only about having people who are good at it, they also need to work on it and we have to define what we want.”