FC Porto coach Paulo Fonseca insisted the presence of former Dragons favourite Hulk in the FC Zenit lineup would be no distraction ahead of the sides' Group G tie.
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Paulo Fonseca insisted the presence of former FC Porto forward Hulk in the FC Zenit lineup would be no distraction ahead of their UEFA Champions League encounter. While Fonseca believes that the international break has given him the chance to iron out Porto's defensive deficiencies, his Zenit counterpart Luciano Spalletti is confident his team have the quality to register their first win in Group G.
Paulo Fonseca, coach
It might be a very important game for us, but it is also a very important game for Zenit. Every team has a chance of going through in our group. Our ambition is always the same, no matter who we are up against – we always want to win. Hulk has a good name at this club, and will be well received tomorrow, but that won't affect his or our performance.
With Atlético last time out we had some difficulties, but those only made us stronger and we have learned from them. I'm happy with how the past two weeks have gone despite the absence of important players who have been with their national teams. Our defence was together during this period, which allowed us to get our tactics right and improve the defensive side of our game.
Saturday: FC Porto 1-0 CD Trofense (Varela 23)
Fabiano; Danilo (Alex Sandro 46), Maicon, Diego Reyes, Vítor García; Fernando, Carlos Eduardo, Juan Quintero (Defour 71); Ricardo Pereira, Ghilas, Varela (Kelvin 61).
• Varela's goal against second-tier Trofense secured the Dragons a place in the fourth round of the Portuguese Cup. Diego Reyes and Vítor García, regulars in the club's B side, made their first-team debuts as part of a much-changed lineup.
The likes of Helton, Nicolás Otamendi, Hector Herrera, Josué and Licá are all expected to return after being left out of the squad at the weekend. Otherwise coach Fonseca has no fresh injury concerns.
Luciano Spalletti, coach
It may not be a critical game, but when you look at the table it's clear that Porto are a threat to second place. The players believe they can qualify and I know they have the ability to get a decent result. Porto are in very good shape despite their defeat by Atlético. We haven't started well but we have the quality to accumulate points.
It's a fairly new squad though everyone is in high spirits and believes they can go far. Hulk is a great player, very skilful, but can still improve. I know how much he loves Porto after the time he spent here. Tomorrow he just has to do what he always does: play at a very high level.
Friday: FC Zenit 2-0 PFC CSKA Moskva (Shirokov 16, Hulk 45)
Lodygin; Criscito, Neto, Lombaerts, Smolnikov; Shirokov (Fayzulin 70), Witsel, Zyryanov, Danny (Bystrov 87); Arshavin (Shatov 55), Hulk.
• Hulk's ninth goal in his last nine club appearances sealed Zenit's seventh consecutive Premier-Liga triumph.
Axel Witsel is suspended following his dismissal against FK Austria Wien. Vyacheslav Malafeev returned to the squad at the weekend for the first time this term following a calf injury but has not travelled to Portugal.
• Zenit got the better of Porto when the sides met in the 2011/12 group stage. Spalletti's men won 3-1 at home on matchday two, overturning James Rodríguez's tenth-minute goal with strikes from Roman Shirokov (20 63) and Danny (72). Porto played the second period with ten men after Jorge Fucile's dismissal.