SOCCER

Chelsea ‘more awake to danger’ after West Brom hammering, says Porto boss Conceicao


The Portuguese side’s manager admitted he would have preferred the Blues to beat the Baggies on Saturday ahead of their Champions League clash

Porto manager Sergio Conceicao expects to face a more alert Chelsea side on Wednesday after the Blues surprisingly lost to Premier League relegation battlers West Brom at the weekend. 

Chelsea took an early lead against the Baggies, but a Thiago Silva red card turned the tide at Stamford Bridge and the Blues would eventually go down 5-2 in Thomas Tuchel’s first defeat as the club’s manager. 

Conceicao admitted he would have preferred Chelsea to win that game ahead of his side’s Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday.

What was said?

“You know that Thiago Silva was sent off in the first half and that the game had a different course,” Conceicao said at his pre-match press conference. “Chelsea until this last game had been extremely competent, they have not lost a game in the Champions League, they have the second-best defence in the Champions League and also in the English league.

“They are a competent team, and when these defeats happen it serves as a warning.

“If you want my opinion, I would prefer that they won the last game. Because these situations make the siren sound and make everyone more alert, more awake to danger, and I honestly don’t like these defeats very much.”

The bigger picture

Porto will be the underdogs in the tie against Chelsea as Conceicao’s men are the only club left in the competition from outside Europe’s top five leagues, but Chelsea are unlikely to underestimate Porto after they knocked out Italian champions Juventus in their dramatic last-16 tie. 

Even without their two leading scorers Mehdi Taremi and Sergio Oliveira, who are both suspended, Conceicao is expecting his side to hold their own against the London outfit. 

“We will not think that Evanilson was the most expensive player at €8 million, and the most expensive player in Chelsea was Ka) Havertz, at €80m,” Conceicao said. “On the field it’s 11 against 11, with a strategy defined according to each team’s idea of play.

“There may be one or another variant of the game to face this opponent specifically, but from there on there is nothing impossible. Everything is possible.”

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