Porto coach uneasy about facing Chelsea

Coach Sergio Conceicao shouts instructions during the Portuguese League football match between FC Porto and CD Santa Clara at the Dragao stadium in Porto, April 3, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
 Porto coach Sergio Conceicao said he is uneasy about facing Chelsea in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg so soon after they endured a shock 5-2 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion.اضافة اعلان

Saturday’s thumping at the hands of relegation-fighting West Brom was Chelsea’s first defeat in 15 games in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel. It was all the more surprising as the Blues had conceded only twice in their previous 14 games.

“I wished they had won the last game rather than lost,” Conceicao told a news conference.

“A defeat like that serves as a warning, it sets the alarm bells off and makes everyone more alert to danger.

Chelsea had been very strong until this game, they have the second-best defence in the Champions League and are a strong side.

“Their last game barely formed part of our analysis of them, I’m more focused on what they did against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, for example. Chelsea have several strengths that will be a real challenge for us to overcome.”

The first leg is Porto’s “home” game in the tie, although both matches are being played in Spain at Seville’s Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan due to restrictions on travel between Portugal and England.

Conceicao’s side knocked out Juventus in the last 16 on away goals, and the coach described Chelsea as a similar calibre of club to the Serie A champions.

“They are two of the best teams in the world with players that need no introduction, but we’re prepared,” he said.

“We’re a historic club who can beat anyone with our spirit and quality, even though we don’t have the money they do.”

Porto will have to make do on Wednesday without Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi, who was sent off in the second leg against Juve, plus Portuguese midfielder Sergio Oliveira, who scored both strikes in that game and is also suspended.

Team captain Pepe also emphasized his side’s underdog status but was confident they could beat Chelsea.
“Their squad is worth around 700 million euros but that won’t be felt on the pitch.

They have great players, but we have prepared (for) the game well,” he said.

“If we keep believing in the work we’re doing and follow what the coach tells us, we’ll have a great chance of getting through.”