Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Football European

Champions League: We need perfection to net points against Chelsea, says Porto coach Julen Lopetegui

By Robert Jones

Published 29/09/2015

Juggling act: Porto coach Julen Lopetegui shows his ball skills
Juggling act: Porto coach Julen Lopetegui shows his ball skills

Porto boss Julen Lopetegui says that his team must be at their very best against Chelsea in tonight's Champions League Group G clash.

The Premier League champions have made an inconsistent start to the season and drew 2-2 at Newcastle on Saturday to leave them 15th in the table after just two wins in their first seven games.

Their opening 4-0 Group G victory over Maccabi Tel-Aviv shows Lopetegui of the danger posed by Jose Mourinho's side on the Blues boss' return to Estadio do Dragao to face the club with whom he won the Champions League back in 2004, just a month before he joined Chelsea.

"They won their first European game 4-0 and are a strong team, one of the biggest in the world," said Lopetegui.

"We'll have to put in the perfect game to beat them."

Chelsea have been so inconsistent of late it is difficult to tell which side will turn up, but Porto are taking nothing for granted.

"We want to put in a great performance tomorrow, even against a team of Chelsea's power," added Lopetegui, whose side drew 2-2 in their opening game with Dynamo Kiev.

There are numerous sub-plots to the encounter.

Lopetegui has shared history with Mourinho. They were briefly at Barcelona at the same time, while the former goalkeeper also had a spell at Real Madrid prior to Mourinho joining the Spanish giants in 2010.

Asked whether there were any similarities between the pair, Lopetegui said: "I'm not going to answer that, other than to say Mr Mourinho is a wonderful coach and did great things at Porto. Winning trophies. I will respect that."

Mourinho was Sir Bobby Robson's assistant at Porto before later becoming coach and guiding them to the 2003 Uefa Cup and 2004 Champions League titles.

The latter was followed by his first move to Chelsea, which saw an immediate return to Porto in the group stages of the Champions League in the 2004-05 season.

Porto's 2010-11 Europa League success came under the management of Andre Villas-Boas, who next had an unhappy spell as Chelsea boss, which lasted less than nine months.

Mourinho was at Real Madrid by then, where he endured a rotten relationship with captain Iker Casillas, who is now goalkeeper at Porto.

Radamel Falcao, the Chelsea striker, was prolific at Porto, while another English connection at the Portuguese club is former Southampton striker Dani Osvaldo.

Belfast Telegraph

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph