FC Porto coach, Vitor Pereira, and player Silvestre Varela, held an official press conference before the Portuguese-based team’s final training session ahead of tomorrow’s match at La Rosaleda.
The Porto coach, who spoke first in the press conference, analyses tomorrow’s game, in which both teams will put on a strong performance: “This is a Champions League match between two quality teams who will be looking to score and focus on an intense style of play.
Who’s the favourite? I don’t believe in deciding a favourite team before a match. I believe in tactics, both individually and collectively, and the maturity and talent of the players. We are aware that Málaga are hoping for an early goal, and if we score first then the pressure will really be on them.”
Pereira, who knows the quality of Manuel Pellegrini’s men, anticipates a fairly balanced match: “Málaga will be anxious to score and will have to take risks. We certainly won’t be concentrating on defending our 1-0 advantage. We will be looking at taking control of the game from the start, maintaining ball possession and trying to impede Málaga’s style of play.
We’re very competitive and have a lot of ambition, and will go out there tomorrow and play in the same way we always do. Málaga are a great side, looking at the team as a whole, as well as individual players, with a big talent and a fantastic coach. However the difference is they need to score and will be nervous until they do. If we get a goal first, then the pressure will be piled on top of them. They won’t make it easy for us at all, but we believe in our game play.”
FC Porto are up against a very motivated Málaga CF in an historic match in the Blue and Whites’ stadium: “Málaga have a lot of ambition, but we know what we want, and what we need to do to achieve it. The atmosphere tomorrow night will be amazing, but this will also motivate us as a team. I can’t comment on Málaga’s strategy or motivation tomorrow.”
Finally, Vitor Pereira speaks of the importance of this second leg clash: “We want to keep making history and are determined for victory.”
Porto’s Silvestre Varela is confident in the team’s performance and the ability to get to the next round: “FC Porto are very experienced and always put on a strong performance. We’ll be focusing on tipping the balance of the match in our favour. What will the atmosphere be like tomorrow? Every footballer in the world loves to play matches like these.”
Varela doesn’t think there are any similarities between tomorrow’s match and the first leg at the Do Dragao: “They are two very different matches. Málaga will be giving it their all tomorrow and will focus on a powerful attack, but we’re full of motivation and conscious of what we need to do. We’ll give it our all to get to the quarter-finals.”