Jesualdo Ferreira insists the 4-0 loss to Arsenal FC "will mean nothing" when FC Porto play host to an FC Dynamo Kyiv outfit keen to further distance themselves from memories of last season's group campaign.
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Jesualdo Ferreira is confident the pressure of needing to win will inspire his FC Porto side when they take on FC Dynamo Kyiv at the Estádio do Dragão.
Last month's 4-0 defeat by Arsenal FC – equalling their heaviest loss in the UEFA Champions League – took the shine off Porto's excellent winning start to Group G, making the forthcoming double-header with Dynamo even more important. Yet Jesualdo remains calm. "It's no problem for us," said the 62-year-old. "We are used to every match being important. We are conscious just how crucial it is to the club, the supporters, everyone. We are fully prepared though."
Jesualdo, who hopes to be able to include Cristián Rodríguez but will be shorn of injured pair Fucile and Helton, is in his third season at the Dragão and is therefore well-versed in the unique demands of the competition. He is also pragmatic enough not to read too much into one result. "It's much too soon to start doing the maths – Arsenal have only one more point than us, so it's premature to say that Porto and Dynamo are battling for second place behind them," he pointed out. "The Arsenal game will mean nothing when we go into this one. We'll have a better idea of where we after this match."
The Portuguese champions are defending a proud home record in the UEFA Champions League, having lost just one of their preceding 21 home ties, although Jesualdo does not consider this to be an extra burden on his players. "It gives us more confidence and makes us more relaxed," he said. Even so, he is also aware that Dynamo – unbeaten after two draws, and breached only once in Group G having failed to pick up a point in last term's group stage – are a growing force. "They are a very strong side. They know exactly what they want, and drawing at Fenerbahçe [on Matchday 2] was a great result."
Much of Dynamo's improvement can be put down to Yuri Semin. The 61-year-old coach was appointed last December just as the Ukrainian outfit were becoming only the eighth team to lose all six group matches, a humbling comedown for a club who were semi-finalists in 1998/99. Semin hopes for a better return than on Dynamo's last trip to Portugal, a 3-0 loss at Sporting Clube de Portugal, but is under no illusions. "Porto are a very strong side and are used to representing Portugal in Europe," he said. "They are well-organised and stick together as a group."
The former FC Lokomotiv Moskva boss, however, is relaxed after Dynamo's unbeaten opening, even if they are still to win in the group. "We have four games left, all of equal importance," he said. It is hardly a surprise that Semin is so sanguine – he won two Russian titles and guided Lokomotiv to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League in 2003/04, so knows what to expect. "Of course, there are some nerves, this is the Champions League," he said. "But we go into the match with optimism."