Arsene Wenger may have felt “physically sick” after Arsenal’s shock home defeat to Hull City but the Frenchman was back in upbeat mood 48 hours later as he looked forward to Tuesday’s Group G visit of FC Porto.
“We had a very disappointing result against Hull but I’ve been sitting on the bench long enough to know if you play this game 100 times you lose it one time,’ said Wenger. “I believe we will win [on Tuesday]. We want to make sure we win, we want to get the right belief into our game. Everybody thinks we should not have any chance to win the Champions League – I believe we have enough quality to do it and that is what we want to show.
“Maybe we were guilty in that at 1-0 we thought we’d done the difficult part.”
Yet he stressed there would be no danger of complacency against the Portuguese champions as Arsenal look to build on their 1-1 draw at Dynamo Kyiv on Matchday 1.
“We have had a draw at Kiev and we know the home games will be decisive in our qualification,” said Wenger. “Porto had a convincing victory against Fenerbahçe and knowing Fenerbahçe’s team, with its basis of Brazilians and Spanish, that tells me a lot about their quality so we’ll take them very seriously.”
Porto opened with a 3-1 home win over Fenerbahce, but history suggests they will find the going tougher at the Emirates. They have lost on nine of ten previous visits to England, including a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in September 2006.
“Porto don’t have a good record in England – we have never won a game here which says it all,” admitted coach Jesualdo Ferreira. “It is a challenge for us and it will be difficult, but Porto are a club that want to win every game and that will be our aim.
Comparing the changes in the respective sides since that 2006 meeting, Ferreira added: “Most of the Arsenal players are even better than then – bigger, older and with more experience. Now we have different players and the only thing we can say is there are more Arsenal players with experience and fewer experienced players in our team, and that might be the determining factor.”
Ferreira will hope to welcome back Argentinian midfielder Lucho González, rested at the weekend. Wenger, for his part, said Samir Nasri was available after a knee injury but that fellow midfielder Alexandre Song would miss out with a hip problem.