FC Porto land Chelsea in Champions League draw
Porto’s reward for sensationally knocking Juventus out of the Champions League is a quarter-final tie against English Premier League side Chelsea. Should the Dragons get past the London outfit, they will play either Liverpool or Real Madrid in the semi-final.
Despite recognising that Chelsea are a greatly improved team under new coach Thomas Tuchel, Porto vice-president Vítor Baía expressed his confidence that the Portuguese champions can make the last four.
“When you’re in the quarter-finals of a competition of this level, any opponent you get will be of great quality,” said Baía. “We have to prepare well, because we still have a lot to say in this Champions League.
“We’re confident, but we know we’re going to play against a great team who have been recovering well since Thomas Tuchel has taken over as coach, especially from the defensive point of view, but they also have a lot of quality in the final third. They are a very balanced team, in the image of their coach, but let’s see.
“We will focus on what we have to do. It’s wide open, and in my eyes FC Porto are always favourites, no matter who the opposition. We have optimism and a desire to qualify for the semi-finals.”
Porto have met Chelsea 8 times previously, always in the Champions League, and do not have the best record against the Blues, winning just twice, drawing once and losing 5 times. Nevertheless, the legendary Porto goalkeeper reiterated his belief that the Dragons have nothing to be afraid of ahead of the clash.
“We know the DNA of our team, our culture, and we will be up for the challenge of a tie of this magnitude. The players are extremely motivated with what we are doing in the Champions League, a competition where everything comes down to small details, but our coach is meticulous at preparing for games, especially these kinds of games.
“We are ready for what is coming and we have a motivated and strong team as we saw in the tie against Juventus. The players want to continue writing their story and there is still a lot to write in this Champions League.”
by Tom Kundert