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Sérgio Conceição: “defence is the key to success in Leipzig”

Coach promises a team with a “very strong” attitude to win three “very important” points

Sérgio Conceição believes FC Porto will have to be a “consistent team in the defence” to get three points in Leipzig, in the match against that German team (Tuesday, 19h45, mainland Portugal time), for the third matchday of group G of the UEFA Champions League. At the press conference aimed at previewing the match, the coach was reminded of the opponent's victory at the home of Borussia Dortmund (3-2) on Saturday, but, despite recognizing assets in the opponents' offensive dynamics, he prefers to look at his own team instead.

The analysis to the opponent
“It's important to know the dynamics of the other team, what their principles are on the offence, and what we have to do on the defence so that we are a consistent team in the back. It is the key for a possible success tomorrow, and then we will have to exploit any weaknesses they have, as they surely have them as well, like all teams. The match at Dortmund was interesting as others we saw and analysed, but we don’t analyse an opponent for one single match. We are not concerned only about their strikers, there are many players in Leipzig’s offensive dynamic that we have to watch out for.”

The inexperience of Leipzig and the stadium similar to that of the Dragons
“They don’t have much experience in the Champions League, but they did great things last year. It is a difficult team, with above average individual level and a strong sense of team. In 21 matches at home, they lost only three, in a super-competitive championship like the German is. This kind of situation doesn’t interfere with anything with what the game is going to be tomorrow. The stadium is beautiful, I especially like the colour, blue, but not as beautiful as Estádio do Dragão.”

Attitude on the pitch
“We do not have to worry about the opponent's attitude, as that’s something we cannot control. What we can control is our attitude, and that has been very strong. Tomorrow, it will be the same. We have to talk about our team, despite the strength of the German vice-champion, who didn’t start the season well, but is now reaching last year’s level. We know that our competitive focus has to be at the maximum, and we know what to do to cause imbalances to the opponent, but, essentially, we know what we have to do as a team. If they are more or less under pressure is of no concern for us, the game is also decisive for us, as these three points are very important for one of our goals, which is to qualify [to the group stage].”

A surprise in the team?
“I'm not paid to make surprises, but to send in the best team. To many, [Sérgio Oliveira in the starting team in Monaco] was a surprise, because they don’t know what our daily work is. But we know the players at our disposal deeply, and that we can count on them, as they are 1000% in, involved and eager to help. As a coach, it’s easy on the one hand, but, on the other, it’s difficult to choose: I have 21 players, with a lot of quality, and it is up to me to choose the 11 best. I admit that there may be a surprise in that regard here and there.”

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