Coach Sérgio Conceição assumed this Saturday that he would win the national football title if FC Porto win all of the I League games.
“There are three points that we can win and that the opponent doesn’t. So it’s an extra weight game that we say is worth six points. We’ll start the second round with 51 points and if we win every game we’ll be champions, depending on others too, ”said the Porto coach in the preview of the visit to Sporting de Braga, which also included Conceição Candidates.
After the draw on the last day of the match against Belenenses SAD (0-0), FC Porto, national champions, received six points from leaders Sporting, who added 45 points. Sérgio Conceição remains confident, however, considering that “the championship is a marathon”.
“We have to start with this difficult game in Braga but there is a whole second round to improve and try to regain points we lost in the first. It’s a marathon and the most important thing is at the end and in May to see who finishes first, ”said the coach.
In the preview of “a game between two candidates for the title”, the “Dragons” coach was still dissatisfied with the arbitration of the last game against Belenenses SAD and guaranteed that the group “felt indignant with clear situations for everyone except themselves for those who make decisions ”and did not refrain from targeting the Portuguese Football Referees Association (APAF).
“You should definitely be concerned with defending the referees, but mostly with understanding the context and environment in which they are being deployed. This is not normal for a referee [Fábio Veríssimo]who faced tremendous pressure during the week and was embroiled in controversy, was nominated for a game by rival Sporting FC Porto, “he said.
Sérgio Conceição also felt that “in addition to the statements coaches can make about feeling uncomfortable”, there must be concerns about the integrity of the players, defended only by yellow and red cards.
“We are the national champions, we are not afraid of the environment we find on and off the field. Because you play on the pitch too and that’s the problem. When other people are involved in the show. We are alert and strong. We have already proven that we can overcome this, ”emphasized the“ Dragon ”trainer.
Regarding the number of games he will have to play in February (eight), Sérgio Conceição said, “Don’t think too much about it”, expressed “trust in the group” and pointed out that “even those who have played [frente ao Belenenses SAD] and had fewer minutes, it was okay ”.
“I thank God we play so many games. It’s incredible to play five games every three days, but we’re in the semi-finals of the Portuguese Cup and we want to reach the final. We are in “eighth” of the Champions League and we are the Portuguese representative in the biggest club competition in Europe and the world, which is a great pride. There is a tight schedule, but we have to play it, ”he said.
Despite all these fronts, Sérgio Conceição promised a “strong” FC Porto against Sporting de Braga on Sunday, for whom he acknowledged Otávio’s “recovery will be difficult”.
“We are aware of Sp. Braga’s good classification, the closeness he has to us and the differences we have with regard to the first classification. We know we will find a strong Sp. Braga, but they will also find a strong FC Porto. We will give an answer that suits our club ”, guarantees Sérgio Conceição.
The FC Porto coach also discussed the health of defender Nanu, who was seriously injured in the 0-0 draw at Belenenses SAD on Thursday.
“I spoke yesterday [na sexta-feira] and today with him. He’s still a little weak and has some shoulder problems, but he’s recovering. It was a very big shock and he needs to rest and regain all the essential skills to be able to play football again, ”he explained.
Like Nanu and Otávio, Sérgio Conceição cannot count on Braga to meet with goalkeeper Mbaye and defender Marcano, both of whom are still recovering from injuries.
FC Porto, second with 39 points, will start at Sporting de Braga on Sunday at 8.45 p.m., third with 36 points, the second round of the championship, in a game decided by Artur Soares Dias from the Porto club.