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Sérgio Conceição: “We must work, be serious and determined”

Blue and white coach looked forward to the third round of the Portuguese Cup, against Lusitano de Évora

The debut of FC Porto in the 2017/18 edition of the Portuguese Cup is scheduled for this Friday, at 20h15 (Sport TV 1), at Estádio do Restelo, against Lusitano de Évora. In the preview of the match for the third round of the competition, Sérgio Conceição assured the team would be in high alert for the dangers of this type of matches and gave the motto for a victorious debut in a “fantastic competition” that FC Porto naturally wants to conquer.

Atypical week
“This is an atypical week as we were unable to work with all the players, due to national duty. The preparation is never what you want at this point, but it is a bad thing that comes from a good thing, as it means that we have several players called to play for their country. These matches are dangerous because the motivation of the theoretically smaller teams is very large. We'll have to be serious to win. We don’t feel our life is easy for this. We have to work, be serious and determined. Only then can we reach our goal, which is to win the Portuguese Cup, a fantastic competition. I won it as a player and I’ve already been to the final as a coach. It's a fabulous day with a great atmosphere. Everyone in Portugal should aim for it.”

Managing fatigue
“We have to do that management, as we will play seven matches in the next 23 days. It is only natural that there are some changes, but it has to do with management and not with the fact that the match will be easier or more difficult. It has to do with the fatigue of the players. Unfortunately, Soares is injured and will not be able to play this match. We will try to manage in the best way we can and choose a team that gives us all the guarantees.”

Aboubakar renewing
“I'm happy, of course. Renewing with a player that has great potential and that can be very useful in the present and in the future was one of the priorities of FC Porto.”

Overcoming obstacles
“To reach the final, you have to overcome obstacles and the greatest of all is the next one. We are aware of this. Sometimes, people want to get a different message, but we will not slow down and we fully respect Lusitano.”

A matter of dynamics
“Within any system there must be a dynamic. That’s the reality. In a 4x4x2 formation, we can have several nuances, but that is precisely what we are looking for. These nuances can create difficulties for the opponent, with and without the ball. The structure and the base don’t change at all, what changes are the players.”

Response to Mexican national coach
“It’s ridiculous to say that the players do a specific job in the national teams while they are representing them. We, here at FC Porto, have a specific and individual plan for each player. Diego Reyes, like everyone else, has his own individual plan. Instead of saying absolutely ridiculous things, the Mexican national coach should thank FC Porto for our players, who were decisive in Mexico's most recent win.”

Statements out of context
“I want to say that many of the things that came out in my interview to Gazzetta dello Sport were taken out of context. Many of the things were written differently from what I said. I’m sad because of this, and, in this aspect, the Portuguese press is far above the Italian. What I said was that we had obvious restraints and that we only signed one player, and that, if possible, with two or three solutions coming in in January, the team would be stronger. Nothing else. One other thing I don’t understand is why the fact that I said I was asked to break Benfica's dominance became an issue. If we are aiming at being champions and if that is our greatest goal, obviously that will only happen if we break Benfica’s dominance. It's a natural sequence and I don’t understand why this is an issue. If I had said that we are going to win the UEFA Champions League, even though we do have that dream, then I would understand the fuss. When I say that we want to be champions and when I tell my players that we are going to be champions, it is only perfectly normal and natural.”

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