FC Porto coach José Mourinho declared that he has made up his mind regarding the team that will play against Celtic FC in the UEFA Cup final in Seville.
However, the young coach kept the identity of the replacement for the suspended Hélder Postiga and his attacking plans to himself as he faced the media on the eve of the match.
Mourinho revealed nine of his starting eleven with goalkeeper Vítor Baía, defenders Paulo Ferreira, Jorge Costa, Ricardo Carvalho and Nuno Valente as well as midfield players Maniche, Costinha, Deco and Derlei taking the field. They will be joined by two as-yet-unnamed attackers.
'We'll find solutions'
I've made my decision, but I won't reveal it until tomorrow," said Mourinho. "I won't say if I'll play 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. I can choose between [Edgaras] Jankauskas, Nuno Capucho, Marco Ferreira or any other. We'll be missing Hélder Postiga and they will be missing [John] Hartson. I'm sad about those two players - football is the one losing here. But Martin [O'Neill] is a good coach and I'm a good coach - we'll find solutions for that."
Asked if he had prepared new tactics for the big occasion, the Portuguese coach said: "I don't think it's a very wise thing to do to change tactics or put in a new player in matches like this. Apart from one or two changes due to injuries or suspensions, I think Martin O'Neill and myself will play our normal strategies, which have been successful so far."
Mourinho, a former assistant to Bobby Robson at FC Barcelona, said that he was looking forward to playing the most important match of his recent coaching career. "I can say I'm the only Portuguese coach to be in a UEFA Cup final," he said. "FC Porto's best performance in the UEFA Cup was reaching the quarter-finals, so we have every reason to be proud of ourselves and of our work.
Day to remember
The former UD Leiria coach added: "
It will be a day for all of us to remember in the future. And I must say I'm cherishing every moment in Seville. I think I feel less pressure ahead of this match than ahead of any other match. I feel happy and I want my players to be happy as well."
However, his good humour did not extend to the pitch, which has been recently been re-laid. He said: "The surface is not regular - it has bald parts. All that has to be done is to get some water over there and try to play the best we can. People talk about the heat benefiting us, but the heat will be the same for both teams. And the pitch might be a slight disadvantage for us as we look for ball possession and short passes while Celtic play a more direct, long ball style."
His point made, Mourinho's sunny disposition returned and he was careful to add: "Still, I don't want this to be an excuse". If the cool coach handles the match as well as he did the media, he should not need any.
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