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Vítor Bruno praised the blue and whites after the tie in the classic (1-1)

The Classic at Estádio da Luz ended in a 1-1 tie, but with a clear dominance for FC Porto in terms of shots (15-5). The 1-1 tie between the current title holders and the third team in the table was the result of a match of great emotion and fought until the end, and, after the final whistle, Vítor Bruno stated he is “tremendously proud” for “training every day” with a group of “great” athletes.

A battle that deserved an audience
“It was a match that deserved having fans in the stands. It was a very competitive match, with two teams of great quality, one stronger than the other for almost eighty minutes. Close to the end, determined to get closer to the lead, we took the necessary risks. We took the risks we had to take and the match ended up getting more divided. At that stage, the victory could have gone to either side. We controlled Benfica’s offensive dynamic well, with one or two instructions that were different from what we usually do. Díaz was on the left, balancing the inner game with Otávio, and that made us stronger in the midfield. Then, we were always lethal in the way we approached the last third, trying to hurt them there, as we knew that’s our opponent’s great weakness. We got the spaces, but lacked some accuracy in front of goal to make it count in the first-half. In the second-half, the story was pretty much the same. We tried, we ran, we fought, and the players were amazing. It’s hard to describe in words what they represent for us, coaches. I’m tremendously proud to train with them every day, as we are always learning. The result is all that remains, we are further away, but we will fight until the end.”

João Mário going in
“During the week, we tried to prepare some moves and dynamics that make sense for us. This is one that was worked on during the week. We noticed that our opponent has some difficulty on the left wing, and we prepared for João to go in later in the match, when there would be some accumulated fatigue on Benfica’s side. João went in very well, he is a natural winger. As we expected to face a line of five, that would give him some freedom to run on the wing. He did it very well, and, obviously, we have been working his defensive skills. We have been trying to make him more aware of the defensive moments. We broke the match when we sent in Francisco, another natural winger, used to playing open. He plays wide, he is bold, daring, and very strong with his dribble. Our placement was a little broken from then on, but we felt that was the only way we had to score, and it could have happened.”

Further away from the lead
“It’s difficult, but the players are brave. Everyone here is brave, with a huge desire to win. For us, being second or third is of little relevance, we know that a lot is at stake, it’s true. The money from the Champions League, the direct qualification... for us it is not important to be second or third. This club, by tradition, has the habit of winning. It became more difficult, that’s obvious and we can’t deny it. But we will fight until the last match, until the end. The path of the team, unlike what has been reported from the outside, has not fallen short. Obviously, our main goal was compromised today, but we did a great job in the Champions League. We beat the team that is now in the final, we tied against the team that has a winning streak of eleven or twelve matches.  That shows the quality of the players in our squad.”

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