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​​Sérgio Conceição: “determination to get three more points”

Coach did the preview of the classic for matchday 8 of the championship, his first as coach of FC Porto

Sérgio Conceição presented himself at the press conference aimed at previewing the classic match against Sporting, for matchday eight of Liga NOS, with full conviction and determination in getting three more points. According to the FC Porto coach, there is no doubt that the Dragons will face a hard test at Estádio José Alvalade on Sunday (19h15), against “a team with a lot of individual and collective quality”, but he still assured that his players are prepared for the challenge.

Unwilling to discuss tactics, the coach admitted that it is difficult for him to name a favourite as, for his players, playing in an adverse environment must be considered a motivation: “To play in Alvalade or Luz must be as meaningful as playing at Estádio do Dragão”. Among the replies to the journalists, the coach confirmed that André André will be out of the classic due to injury and renewed a promise to the many fans who will be present at the stadium: “You can be sure that we will do everything to win the match”.

Analysing Sporting
“It’s one of our rivals, and, as in recent years, they have a team full of individual and collective quality. They know what to do with and without the ball and they count on an experienced coach, who is instilling ambition and determination to win, which I think extends to all club officials. It will be a difficult match, as all are. Some are more difficult than others, but we are ready.”

The tactical question
“In Monaco, we can say that we played with three or five midfielders, as Brahimi and Marega played as wide attacking midfielders. That story with the three midfielders is old. You go on about how you think the team’s balance is the midfield. It is an important sector, no doubt, as are the fullbacks, for example. The centre is important, even because the goals are in the central corridor and so this sector is important to score goals and not concede. I don’t want to go there. I think the dynamics is what matters. But I’m not going to talk of how this dynamic is possible with and without the ball, as I would be talking of what the match will be in terms of tactic.”

The moment of the teams
“I think that, in any classic, it is difficult to name a favourite. The home team always has a higher percentage of favouritism because of the fans. Many teams feel this discomfort of playing away, but I think it should be a motivation. Playing in Alvalade or in Luz has to be as big as playing at Estádio do Dragão. The audience and the whistles are a challenge and the players need to have character and personality. We don’t have to be arrogant, we have to look at the opponent with respect because we are facing a great team, with a good coach and that is an important point. We cannot inhibit ourselves due to the setting. Knowing that my players will go in like that, it is difficult for me to tell who is the favourite. We are determined to get the three points.”

Still the transfer window
“From the moment the transfer window closed, I had a group of 24/25 players with a lot of quality. Value doesn’t mean one team is stronger than another. There are many transfers that are made and then the performance doesn’t reflect the amount spent. We have the proof that players that belonged to FC Porto and that are now in a very good moment, so I don’t see things like that. Right now, I have no doubt that my players are the best group in the national championship.”

Motivation and will to win
“I never beat Sporting? I never thought of that. Our motivation and desire to win can be seen every day. The matches are the mirror of what goes on in the club and not just the coach's part. It’s the mirror of everyone that has that spirit. And currently our spirit is to get the three points in every match of the championship. I always live match in a passionate way. I always feel that adrenaline and that good anxiety. Tomorrow, I'll feel it again, not because it's Sporting, but because it's the next match.”

André André's injury
“I can confirm that he is out and that he is the only one missing.”

Joke with Jorge Jesus
“I was wondering if we really should go to Lisbon. At the end of the match, I heard Jorge Jesus saying that he was going to beat FC Porto... I even told the players that maybe it was not even worth wasting the club’s money. But we have this big doubt in our head, and we want to reverse things. Obviously I say this in jest. You know the sympathy I have for Jorge Jesus. I only ask that tomorrow this doesn’t end up on the front pages. I don’t use his words as a form of motivation. I know him and said this in jest.”

Still the promise with Monaco
“I never said we were going to beat Monaco 3-0. What I did say was that we were going to show the greatness of FC Porto. I said we were going to do everything to show the history and grandeur of this club. Obviously, there are times when we do everything and we just can’t win, because there is an opponent that also has quality.”

The championship numbers
“I agree that winning would be very important. Sporting could be five points behind right on matchday eight, and Benfica five or more, depending on the match in Madeira. It would be an important moment, but one that would be worth nothing if we didn’t follow through on it, especially as the championship barely just started. It would be three more points that would mean remaining in the lead and increasing the advantage.”

The point of view of the fans
“It's hard for the coach to think like the fan. I think that, right now, they are happy and close to the team. They always have been, even in the negative result we had. We feel great closeness and belief. And that's how they’re going to Lisbon, with the certainty that the team will do everything to win the match. I, the coach, could never put myself in the place of the fan, because I would surely make certain mistakes.”

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