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Sérgio Conceição: “We have to take responsibility of being FC Porto”

Blue and white coach did the preview of the match in Setúbal, against Vitória (Sunday, 20h15)

Matchday 14 of Liga NOS will take FC Porto to Setúbal, where the Dragons face Vitória (20h15, Sport TV), on Sunday, at Estádio do Bonfim. Days after the 13th qualification to the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League, Sérgio Conceição assured a team completely focused on the next challenge, especially because the leadership of the Championship is to retain.

The usual difficulties
“I expect a tough opponent, as every other team in this league. It’s in difficult moments that teams try to overcome and reverse a bad momentum. Vitória has a squad with quality young players and a coach with a lot of experience, who I appreciate. He gives young people opportunities and empowers them, and he has a very coherent speech. I appreciate José Couceiro as a person and as a coach. It will be difficult, so we have to take responsibility for being FC Porto. We have to overcome this obstacle and get the three points.”

The rumours of the market
“It is absolutely normal to have these news when we are close to January. There are news put out by businessmen, other by clubs, and then we have fake news created by someone. We have to do our job and we are focused on what matters, which is to play each match to win. It’s not something that disturbs us or interferes with our preparation. We are a great club, with great players, and there will always be talks. It’s not and it will never be a problem.”

Managing fatigue
“We have to manage, knowing that all teams would love to have this fatigue, as it shows we’re on all fronts. We have high-level clinical staff that tries to keep players at their best. Any fatigue is forgotten with the qualification to the Round of 16 of the Champions League.”

Chairman wants to renew with the coach
“That’s not a problem because I have a contract, and I never discussed a contract at FC Porto. When I was a player, I was so happy that I would sign without reading them. This time it was the same. It’s a sign of confidence, but you know that I don’t like these compliments that much. It’s the way I am. At the end of the season, if you praise me for winning the Championship, then yes, I'm pleased. It gives me even more responsibility because I don’t like to disappoint people.”

The renewal with Marcano
“I want Marcano to continue because he is one of the captains, he is an exemplary professional and a great player. It’s a situation that we are dealing with internally and to which we are attentive. Anyway, commenting on things beyond the match makes me uncomfortable, because our focus is all in the match against Vitória de Setúbal.”

The daily pressure
“The pressure is always there. When we were alone at the top, we had to keep or increase the distance. Right now, we are tied with Sporting and three points ahead of Benfica, but the pressure is the same. In a club with this dimension and always fighting for titles, pressure is part of the daily work. I deal well with the pressure and I like to play finals. The pressure is always good, in my opinion.”

The refereeing in Setúbal
“I fear nothing, I just want the referee to be happy, that he has a good match and that he isn’t decisive in the result. I don’t want to be benefited, I just want the referees to be correct. We were harmed in two consecutive matches and there were other matches where this wasn’t noticed because FC Porto was always much stronger. A French journalist called me and said that, recently, FC Porto looked like a foreign team playing in Portugal. I don’t want to feel this, I want justice. Still, we have to be much better to win, just being better isn’t enough. Unfortunately, the refereeing at Vila das Aves and against Benfica proved to be decisive.”

A campaign against Felipe
“What is being done to Felipe is unfair. He is a fast, aggressive central defender, and one of his assets is his skill in one on ones. What is being said was the end result of various situations, but I have full confidence in him as a player. We have already spoken in family, in the locker room, about his red card against Monaco. And he already admitted that he was wrong, but I also made many mistakes when I was a player. These are mistakes that can happen as long as you can learn from them.”

Congratulations, Cristiano Ronaldo
“It makes us, Portuguese, happy. We are lucky to live in a time when a player with the greatness of Cristiano Ronaldo plays. Congratulations to him for the fifth Golden Ball in his career. It is reason for pride for the Portuguese to see all these titles. He is the best Portuguese player ever.”

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