Conceicao wary of Chelsea backlash as Porto prepare for tinkering Tuchel

By Sports Desk April 06, 2021

Sergio Conceicao fears Chelsea's shock loss to West Brom could work against Porto heading into the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.

Chelsea had not lost under Thomas Tuchel before a stunning 5-2 home reverse on Saturday, a result that led to the Blues dropping out of the Premier League's top four.

Defender Thiago Silva was sent off shortly after his side had taken the lead against relegation-threatened opponents, with his dismissal leading to a dramatic collapse that Tuchel admitted in the aftermath was "tough to digest".

Porto, therefore, are wary of a possible backlash from that result in Seville, the venue for both games between the teams due to the travel restrictions in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

"You know that Thiago Silva was sent off in the first half and that the game had a different course," said Conceicao, whose side will be listed as the home team on Wednesday.

"Chelsea until this last game had been extremely competent, they have not lost a game in the Champions League. They are a competent team, and when these defeats happen, it serves as a warning.

"If you want my opinion, I would prefer that they won the last game. These situations make the siren sound and make everyone more alert, more awake to danger, and I honestly don't like these defeats very much."

Rather than read too much into the West Brom game, Conceicao highlighted how Chelsea had impressively overcome Atletico Madrid in the last 16, winning both legs without conceding a goal.

He also referenced his opposite number's penchant for tinkering with tactics to suit each match situation, something he says Tuchel also did during his time in charge at Paris Saint-Germain.

"In the analysis of Chelsea, practically that last game wasn't considered," the former Portugal international said.

"There were other games that they played before that, namely those in the Champions League against Atletico Madrid, but this one [against West Brom] did not enter [our analysis].

"Tuchel is a coach who is capable of changing even if he wins, while in France he did the same at PSG. Play with two men behind the striker or play with two men in front, as in the first round with Atletico. It is up to us to analyse that dynamic.

"I saw the last game they played, but we did not present images to the players of that game."

Porto made it through to the last eight at the expense of Juventus, but veteran centre-back Pepe made clear the players will not dwell on their Turin heroics and instead focus on the task in hand - getting past Chelsea.

"The Juventus match is already in the past. This is the important one now. We must show a lot of passion and humility and work as a team," said the defender, a three-time Champions League winner during his time at Real Madrid.

"We have prepared well. Nothing is certain in football, but I hope we will be the team that our fans expect. We respect Chelsea. It will be difficult, but we want to win this tie."

Related items

  • Barca still optimistic in LaLiga title pursuit despite Clasico defeat, says Koeman Barca still optimistic in LaLiga title pursuit despite Clasico defeat, says Koeman

    Ronald Koeman insisted Barcelona remain upbeat and optimistic in their pursuit of the LaLiga title, despite suffering Clasico pain at the hands of Real Madrid.

    Barca left the Spanish capital emptyhanded after Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos guided defending champions Madrid to a 2-1 win on Saturday.

    Oscar Mingueza set up a dramatic final half-hour with his second goal of the season for Barca, while Madrid midfielder Casemiro was sent off in the 90th minute.

    But Madrid held on at a sodden Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium to seal a third consecutive win against Barca in all competitions for the first time since 1978 as they provisionally moved top of the table, with Atletico Madrid in action on Sunday.

    Barca are third and a point off the pace, though they could fall four points adrift if Atletico beat Real Betis.

    "Of course we're still upbeat and optimistic because we've produced a serious performance," Barca head coach Koeman told reporters. "We are fighting.

    "We lost a match against a team who are fighting to win the league but there are nine matches and all the matches are important for the three best teams.

    "It's difficult for all three of us. We will come back, we will fight until the last match."

    Barca attempted 12 shots in total in the second half, three of those on target, and nearly snatched a point when Ilaix Moriba struck the crossbar in the 94th minute.

    But, Koeman became the first Barcelona coach to lose his first two LaLiga games against Madrid since Joaquim Rife in 1980 (also the first two).

    Koeman could not hide his frustration post-match, having felt his side should have had a penalty when substitute Martin Braithwaite went down in the box under pressure from Ferland Mendy.

    The former Netherlands boss said: "I'm not the only person who's upset about the decision, or lack of decision.

    "The players feel disappointed because of this decision by the referee to not give the penalty and there's players who have been playing for years for Barcelona, so I know. But once again not all decisions were right.

    "You should ask the players but I would like to include myself. We know that we've played a good match football wise, the first part, the first half, ok, we were not up to our standards. Real Madrid defended very well in the first half.

    "There's no [league] match next week and the title [Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao] is at stake. We have a week to prepare for a difficult match so we'll carry on and we are strong."

    Lionel Messi, meanwhile, failed to score in seven consecutive Clasicos in all competitions for the first time in his career.

  • Barcelona hopeful Lionel Messi hasn't played his last Clasico after Madrid loss Barcelona hopeful Lionel Messi hasn't played his last Clasico after Madrid loss

    Barcelona are hopeful superstar captain Lionel Messi has not played his last El Clasico for the LaLiga giants, said director Guillermo Amor.

    Messi is out of contract at the end of the season and his future with Barca is far from certain amid strong links to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

    New Barca president Joan Laporta remains determined to re-sign Messi, who has spent his entire senior career at Camp Nou.

    Amor was asked about Messi's future after Barca lost Saturday's Clasico 2-1 at Real Madrid.

    "We hope not," Amor told reporters following the match when asked if it was Messi's final Clasico showdown.

    "We hope he decides to stay at Barcelona and plays many more Clasicos with Barcelona." 

    Messi had seven attempts on goal against Madrid, including when he hit the post with an audacious effort directly from a corner towards the end of the first half.

    No Barcelona player had more shots, but Messi could not find a way through in what could potentially be his final tangle with Madrid in this famous fixture.

    The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has now gone seven Clasicos in all competitions without scoring – the longest drought of his career against Los Blancos.

    Barca missed the chance to move top of the league standings on Saturday – Ronald Koeman's men left in third position and a point adrift of Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

  • Messi misery as Madrid toast brilliant Benzema – An Opta look at El Clasico Messi misery as Madrid toast brilliant Benzema – An Opta look at El Clasico

    Real Madrid prevailed 2-1 over Barcelona in a rain-soaked and chaotic Clasico in the Spanish capital.

    Saturday's showdown proved a contrasting story for the two star forwards on display as Zinedine Zidane's men replaced city rivals Atletico Madrid at the top of LaLiga.

    There were also a couple of moments of history before a red card in a frantic finale.

    Here, we look at some of the standout statistics to emerge from the latest chapter in the eternal rivalry.

     

    Seven not heaven for Messi

    Lionel Messi had seven attempts on goal, including when he hit the post with an audacious effort directly from a corner towards the end of the first half.

    No Barcelona player had more shots, but Messi could not find a way through in what could potentially be his final tangle with Madrid in this famous fixture.

    The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has now gone seven Clasicos in all competitions without scoring – the longest drought of his career against Los Blancos.

    Simply the Benz

    At the head of Madrid's attack, Karim Benzema simply cannot stop scoring, irrespective of the opponents.

    His sensational backheel flick to convert Lucas Vazquez's 13th-minute cross was a finish that is sure to be cherished for years to come.

    Benzema has now scored in his past seven LaLiga games, netting nine times overall during this period.

    The Frenchman is the fourth Madrid player in the 21st century to have scored in seven consecutive top-flight outings after Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

    Kroos ends dead ball torpor

    From Ronaldo to David Beckham, Madrid have rarely been shy of free-kick specialists.

    It comes as a surprise, therefore, that Toni Kroos' strike on Saturday made him the first player in white to score a direct free-kick in El Clasico this century.

    Sure, it deflected off Sergino Dest and bounced off Jordi Alba's head on the goal line, but they all count. Right, Toni?

    Mignueza opens his account

    Oscar Mingueza endured a torrid first half as Vinicius Junior ran him ragged, but the Barcelona defender bounced back after the break.

    Mingueza appeared in the Madrid penalty area to convert when substitute Antoine Griezmann dummied Alba's cross.

    The previous Barca defender to score on his first appearance in El Clasico was Marc Bartra in the 2014 Copa de Rey final.

    Ref on Casemiro's case

    Mingueza was also involved in another key moment, when Casemiro fouled him outside the Madrid box in the final minute of normal time.

    That earned the combative Brazilian his second booking and only the second sending off of his Madrid career.

    During this time, Casemiro has committed 478 fouls in all competitions. All in all, not a bad ratio.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.