Vítor Pereira: “Zenit is one of the strongest teams in Europe”

Porto head coach Vítor Pereira spoke at his pre-match press conference about how his team has come to Russia to win, but admitted that it won`t be easy to beat the blue-white-sky blues.

— Have you made any decisions about who will play — Belluschi or Defour?
— We can only decide that question before the match.

— Based on the first match day results, Zenit has to play for a win in this match, while Porto almost guarantees itself progress into the next round if it wins. Will you be satisfied with a draw? And what do you know about Zenit?
— I can definitely say that Zenit is one of the strongest teams in Europe. It`s enough to say that Bruno Alves plays for our opponent. He played for Porto for a long time before. Danny is an excellent player who is very well known in Portugal. Kerzhakov is a strong forward. Spalletti is famous as a coach throughout the world. All of that forces us to take this match very seriously. But I can say that Porto always plays to win. We`ve come here to win.

— There`s a new fashion for Portuguese coaches in Europe now. Just look at Real Madrid or Chelsea. What do you think, why is that?
— Portugal prepares very good coaches and players. So the coaches from our country who opened the gates for other coaches to go to Europe did a really good job. I think that`s why were in demand now. Our strengths are our tactics, our match strategy, and the level of our training process. All of that is at one of the highest levels in the world in Portugal.

— What`s the team mood in the team after two ties in your last two matches?
— Ya, we`ve had two ties, so our team has come here to win. Zenit, Shkhtar, and Porto have won the last three UEFA Cup and Europa Leage titles, so we`re going to fight to the end in our group. All of the teams are very strong.

— Porto played excellent football for 45 minutes in the match with Benefica. Will you try to continue that streak on Wednesday?
— Of course. We`re going to try and play at that level for the whole 90 minutes here. We weren`t satisfied with a tie in that match, and we weren`t happy with the last minutes, so we`re going to play only for a win here.

— You talked about choosing between Belluschi or Defour. Do you already know who will play at all the other positions?
— I can`t even say our potential starting lineup right now, because we have a practice to go today. The players shouldn`t know who will be in the starting lineup before they go out to train. So I`ll make my decision after practice.

— Did you send your spies to the Zenit — Tom match? Did you get any useful information from the match?
— We did a lot of homework, and know the qualities of each player and the team as a whole, their positions, tactics, and strategy. We`ve gotten prepared, and I hope that Zenit and Porto will fight hard tomorrow, and we`ll see a high-class match.

— Do you know which playing scheme Zenit is going to use tomorrow? Are you going to play attacking football?
— We know about Zenit`s tactics, but tomorrow our opponent will meet a Porto side which is going to play in its own way. We know that Zenit can play fast, and move from defense to attack very quickly, but we`re ready for that, and again, we`re going to use our own tactics.