In the preview of the match Sérgio Conceição had promised that, in this game, the greatness of FC Porto would be showed, and now, after a 3-0 victory over Monaco, the coach remembered his words at the preview of the match to make another promise: “We will not let down the greatness of this club”. This Tuesday, at Stade Louis II, it was in fact a great FC Porto that beat the French champion and the blue and white coach was the first to admit it.
Between compliments to the group and the way everyone works every day to be at the top, the coach admitted that the changes in comparison to the match against Besiktas were important for the good outcome of this match, against “a great team”. Finally, he also had the time to humour the French journalists and answer in French to a question asked by one of the journalists of that country present in the press room.
Compliments to the performance and the group
“I have to congratulate the players for their performance and for managing to use on the pitch all the work we have done. I have a fantastic group that believes in the work, in what is said and in the message that is passed. That makes me proud. As for the UEFA Champions League, we weren’t the worst after losing to Besiktas, and we are not the best just because we beat Monaco today. It was a display of strength, not only from our players, but also from our fans. For a few moments, if you closed your eyes, you would think we were playing at home.”
The “European” answer
“We won 3-0 at the home of the team that was theoretically the strongest in the group. FC Porto will always fight for the three points in a very balanced group. Now is the time to think of the match against Sporting and leave the European tests for later. But it has been proven that this club has greatness and a very important history in European competitions and we will not let it fall.”
The option for Sérgio Oliveira
“I have all the players at my disposal and I know they are all prepared to play. And I say this not to be nice, but because everyone works at the maximum, and those who are not being used the most, still work in a fantastic way, to be fit when called. In the case of Sérgio, I thought he was going to fit right in the centre for what I had thought for the match, and that’s what happened. I'm happy for him, but the most important thing is always the team.”
The changes in comparison to the match with Besiktas
“As a coach I always take responsibility for defeats. Obviously, I'm not on the pitch, but the strategy is prepared by me and, when you lose, no strategy is good. I will not go into details. I think today we were a little more expectant when Monaco started creating, by sending in another player in the centre at the start of construction, because we knew that their wingers cut inside a lot. We knew we had to move up with criteria, and we knew what to do to hurt Monaco... and that's what we did. Even at the beginning, in the first 10, 15 minutes, I was sure it would be difficult for us to lose this match because we were very well.”
Aboubakar and Brahimi going out
“It was more important for us to refresh our wings than to have one less player in the middle. At times, the difficult situations we faced came from crosses, and that’s why we would have to condition Monaco. And it was for this reason that I decided to take Aboubakar and Brahimi, moving Marega forward, with different movements of the Aboubakar. And so we gained consistency in the wings, it went well and it was important.”