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FC Porto coach Co Adriaanse has insisted his side will not alter their attacking approach for Wednesday's visit of FC Artmedia Bratislava in UEFA Champions League Group H.
Adriaanse was criticised in some quarters for his team's sense of adventure in their 3-2 Matchday 1 defeat at Rangers FC. But the Dutchman has no intention of changing the style that has taken Porto to the top of the Portuguese Liga.
"We are not going to change our style or system for European matches," he said. "We will play like Porto play. We've been doing that since 4 July [when Adriaanse was appointed] and will maintain our style of play. We are in perfect shape and fortunately don't have any fresh injuries."
McCarthy on song
Adriaanse is without the injured Pedro Emanuel, Jorge Costa and Helton, but his defensive problems are eased by the return of Pepe for the first time since sustaining a knock against Rangers. The in-form Benni McCarthy, who scored in Saturday's 2-0 home victory against CF Os Belenenses, keeps his place at the expense of Hélder Postiga.
It is Porto's 112th birthday on Wednesday, but the celebrations will not ease the pressure on Adriaanse to deliver a victory. The 58-year-old, however, is relaxed. He uttered his first words of Portuguese in inviting fans to the party, then reverted to English to urge patience against the Slovakian champions. "Even if we lose, we can still reach the next stage," he said. "However, it will be very nice if we can win the first match at home.
The match will depend on us because we are stronger than our opponents," he continued. "We will try to keep the ball and prevent them from counterattacking, which is their main weapon. Artmedia made a big impact when they eliminated Celtic [FC] so they have to be a good side. We know they need points but I believe we have a better team so we want to win this game."
Artmedia enter the tie looking for the first points of their inaugural Champions League group stage campaign. Their 1-0 defeat by FC Internazionale Milano in Bratislava continued a worrying trend for coach Vladimir Weiss, whose side have not scored in four competition matches since the 5-0 defeat of Celtic in the second qualifying round.
"Porto are favourites to win but we believe we can surprise them," said Weiss. "Even though I still don't know what team I will field, we intend to play good football whichever players are selected. We've come up against extremely tough opponents in the Champions League so far and while we haven't scored a single away goal, anything is possible. However, a draw would be a good result."
One player sure of a starting place is defender Balázs Borbély as the captain is available after suspension. Brazilian forward Fabio Luis Gomes will hope to feature for longer than the 28 minutes he played against Inter, although he is confident Artmedia "can achieve something special on Wednesday", adding: "Porto are a very strong team but anything can happen."
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