With Club Atlético de Madrid struggling and FC Porto fresh from a derby victory, Jesualdo Ferreira says their meeting could not have come at a better time even if Abel Resino reckons his side have turned a corner.
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With Club Atlético de Madrid struggling to find their form and FC Porto fresh from a derby win, Jesualdo Ferreira says their meeting – a repeat of last season's first knockout round tie won by the Portuguese champions – could not have come at a better time. Yet beleaguered Abel Resino has seen green shoots over the past week, even if he does admit that "playing very well is not enough; we need results."
Jesualdo Ferreira, Porto coach
This is the best time for us to play Atlético because our last game [a home win against Sporting Clube de Portugal] gave us a real lift. We know Chelsea and Atlético are our two main opponents and that this match will have great importance regarding the table, but it will not be a decisive game. More than the frailties of our adversaries we believe in our strength. Sometimes if there is an idea that we are going to face a fragile team and there are false expectations it can create an environment that we do not want. [On the absences of Silvestre Varela and Cristián Rodríguez] Nobody wins alone and only the team can promote individual talent. We can cope with the most important absences. Porto are building a team and the players we have chosen for this game are the ones we think will have the best chance of solving our problems against Atlético.
Abel Resino, Atlético coach
It's different to when we played in March. True, Porto have lost some good players like Lucho and Lisandro, but they have others that are doing well this season. They still have the same style; they're a strong team – aggressive and quick – that likes to play on the counterattack. My team have been playing very well but results haven't been going well. Since the [2-2 draw] with Almería we have been playing very well, but that's not enough; we needs results, and that's what we're going for against Porto. Everyone wants to get out of this bad patch – it isn't decisive, but it is very important. Falcao looks like a very good player with great movement and the goal against Sporting shows how dangerous he is.
26/09/09 Porto 1-0 Sporting Clube de Portugal
• Summer signing Falcao found the net in Porto's first four league games this season, surpassing the achievements of Domingos (1995/96) and Benni McCarthy (2003/04), who both struck in the opening three matches – although neither were in their first season at the club.
• Although SC Braga stopped him from extending that scoring run, Falcao made it five goals in six league matches against Sporting, though goalkeeper Rui Patrício denied the Colombian forward a second of the night from the penalty spot on 53 minutes.
• The Braga loss on 19 September was Porto's first Liga defeat since 1 November 2008, a run of 27 matches that included 21 wins.
26/09/09 Valencia CF 2-2 Atlético
(Pablo 25, Villa 27; Agüero 7, Maxi Rodríguez 90)
• Atlético have three points from five games this season. They picked up four from their opening five fixtures in 1999/00 when they were relegated.
Out: Miguel Lopes (right thigh), Silvestre Varela (right thigh), Cristián Rodriguez (left knee)
Misses next match if booked: none
Out: Mariano Pernía (broken collarbone), Ignacio Camacho (hip), Raúl García (broken toe)
Misses next match if booked: none
• Porto eliminated Atlético from last season's competition in the first knockout round on away goals, the teams drawing 2-2 in Spain and 0-0 at the Estádio do Dragão.
• Last season's draw extended to six Porto's sequence of home games without a win against Spanish opponents in UEFA club competition. In that time they have lost three and drawn three. Their last home victory against a Spanish side came in October 1999 when they beat Real Madrid CF 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League first group stage.
• Atlético have never lost an away game in the UEFA Champions League, disregarding qualifying ties.
Did you know?
Atlético midfielder Paulo Assunção has had two stints with Porto. In 2000/01 he made 36 appearances for the B team and returned in 2004 for a four-year stay.