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Sérgio Conceição refuses to lower weapons until the end

FC Porto got three more points for the fourth consecutive matchday, even if the team did need to score in the fifth minute of stoppage time. In the home match against Santa Clara (2-1), for matchday 25 of Liga NOS, the national champions scored from a penalty first, conceded the tie also from penalty, and need to reach minute 90+5 to win the scoring goal, with Toni Martínez. After a hard to get victory, Sérgio Conceição talked of the consequences of national duty, but summed up: “We did what mattered the most, to win”. 

National duty aftermath
“You have to look at the context for this match. You can’t forget that we worked with eight players for two weeks. You have to look at their training sessions, which included only recovery. These are difficult matches, following national duty. It’s not an excuse for anything, we did what mattered the most, to win. We have to praise a team that has been consistent in the championship and that is starting to get renown. They are in a good place in the table, they are a positive team. Congratulations to Daniel Ramos and to Santa Clara for what they did here. It was a balanced first-half, and in the second we had four or five clear situations to score. Their only shot came from the penalty and they scored. We have to look at the fatigue on the players: Corona is one of the players that has been used the most at FC Porto, but he still played two friendlies, and rested tonight, for an official match.”

Zaidu, Corona and Mbemba out of the starting team
“Zaidu played on the last day of national duty, Corona did the same, Mbemba had a difficult journey returning to Portugal due to restrictions to travelling. It was difficult to prepare the match, but I believe that we showed what really matters: the players that go in have great determination and are capable of compensating a less positive performance in one or two teammates.”

Changes in the team
“That variable allows us to bring different things to the match, with more technical players, harder to stop in individual duels. In the final pressure, I decided to go back to using two forwards, with Fábio on the left, given his above average quality in terms of passing and crossing. We won the match and I think we deserved it for the clear opportunities we had.”

FC Porto’s DNA
“This match was our Champions League. I sent in the team that I felt was stronger for this match. No one gives up at this club, FC Porto’s DNA has to do with believing until the end.”

Chelsea is next
“I will look at this match now, as there were some things that I didn’t enjoy. From there, we will start thinking of the Champions League.”

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