Despite already qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League, Jesualdo Ferreira knows Porto’s “culture” of success means they will be unable to take it easy when they host Arsenal tonight.
Porto’s 2-1 win at Fenerbahce on Matchday 5 coupled with Arsenal’s victory against Dynamo Kyiv, leaves both teams entering their final match in Group G assured of a place in the last 16.
“There isn’t the normal pressure,” said the coach. “The culture of FC Porto means we will go out to win,” he stressed. “It’s a prestigious game, there are three points up for grabs, and we will go for them.”
Porto will finish as group victors should they avenge their 4-0 loss to Arsenal on Matchday 2 with three points, but Ferreira doubts whether this makes any difference going into the last-16 draw.
“Theoretically, it’s easier if you finish in first place, especially because you play the second game [of the first knockout round] at home, but there will be great teams finishing second in their groups too,” he added.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is wary of the threat posed by Porto, refusing to be misled by their below-par performance in the return fixture at the Emirates.
“Over-confidence is a disease we don’t have,” he said. “We are well aware that it is always difficult to travel in the Champions League.
“Porto will maybe play with less pressure and that could make them more dangerous,” he said. “We will have to be very focused.”
Wenger will give some of his youngsters a taste of the Champions League tonight, so the likes of Gavin Hoyte, Aaron Ramsey and Carlos Vela may feature given regulars including Emmanuel Adebayor and captain Cesc Fàbregas have stayed at home.
“We’re lucky to have an extremely talented young group, with great potential to do well. I believe this team can produce the result we need to finish top – that’s the only reason I made this decision.”