FC Porto's perfect start to the Portuguese Liga may be over but Tarik Sektioui says they remain confident as they host Group A leaders Olympique de Marseille.
FC Porto's perfect start to the Portuguese season may be over but Tarik Sektioui insists they are still confident of their chances against UEFA Champions League Group A leaders Olympique de Marseille on Tuesday.
Porto had won all eight of their Liga fixtures before Friday's 1-1 draw at home to CF Os Belenenses – not the ideal preparation for a game the Portuguese champions must win to overhaul Marseille in first place. Sektioui is not unduly concerned though. "We're still relaxed and calm approaching the game, as always," said Sektioui, playing down suggestions that this match would define their UEFA Champions League destiny. "It's important, but it's not the only important game we have to play. They are all important for us."
Nor will Porto feel the weight of increased expectations with home advantage, having drawn 1-1 in France a fortnight ago. "There's no pressure," the winger said. "We're used to playing to win in all our matches. And we'll go out to win this one, just like the rest." If completing a Liga hat-trick is Porto's major objective for the campaign – "it's the most important competition," stressed the 30-year-old Moroccan international – Sektioui is keen for Porto at least to match last season's run to the last 16. "It's a great competition and we want to go as far as possible."
Sektioui's own fortunes have taken an upturn this term. Having been a fringe player in 2006/07 and even loaned to RKC Waalwijk, he is now a regular, although experience gives him sympathy for his former AJ Auxerre team-mate Djibril Cissé, who has scored only one competitive goal for Marseille since registering against Beşiktaş JK on Matchday 1. "He was a young player with a lot of ability," said Sektioui. "And he was part of a good group of young French players, like Philippe Mexes. He's having a difficult time at the moment, but he's still young and still has plenty to offer."