With Barcelona set to face off against FC Porto in their UEFA Champions League Group H encounter on Wednesday, the Portuguese club’s manager, Sergio Conceicao, spoke to the media at a press conference earlier today.
The Portuguese champions head into the game on the back of a defeat against rivals SL Benfica, but Conceicao appeared upbeat about the challenge lying ahead of them in the form of Barcelona.
“It’s a Champions League match between teams that give their countries visibility in Europe and the world,” Conceicao said about the match between Porto and Barça at Estadio do Dragao tomorrow.
Opening up on the kind of threat that Barcelona might pose in the match on Wednesday night, the Porto boss said:
“I think they are the team with the most ball possession in Spain, in a league where many favour that. They are quite dangerous, they are very wide on the pitch and create difficulties for the opponent. If we stretch ourselves, they will find space inside.
“We have to be cautious in defence, because they have individuals who can decide the game at any moment.”
At the same time, though, the Portuguese tactician insisted that his team are aware of the weaknesses that Barcelona have and will ensure that the visitors suffer on Wednesday.
“They’ve gone a few games without conceding goals, but we know their weaknesses, all teams have them. It has a lot to do with our defensive consistency and then taking advantage of some of the opponent’s weaknesses,” he said.
“We have to rise to the occasion. We will suffer against Barcelona, but Barcelona will also suffer against FC Porto.”
Conceicao also spoke about his compatriots and Barcelona duo Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix, claiming that their arrival was something that the La Liga champions needed.
“They are two Portuguese internationals, with a lot of quality, as I see most of Barcelona’s players, who have an above-average individual quality. Even the youngest [Lamine Yamal], at 16, is very well known. They added Felix and Cancelo in positions that I think Barcelona needed,” he said.
Barcelona academy graduate Nico Gonzalez joined Porto during the summer transfer window on a permanent transfer but has had a slow start to life in Portugal. On the topic of the Spaniard, Conceicao said:
“Regarding Nico, he has already played, he is in good health and ready to make his contribution. He is in a process of adaptation and evolution, just like other young players who arrive at this club and need to ‘work hard’ to assert themselves.”
Finally, when asked if he would consider fielding a five-man backline to make things difficult for Barcelona tomorrow, the FC Porto boss replied:
“The first question is quite interesting and I say yes, it can be done. I can push the team back a bit, press in different areas, it depends on the strategy defined. Obviously I won’t reveal it, but it could happen.”
Source: Mundo Deportivo