Reigning champions Porto meet CSKA Moscow meet for the first time tonight, with all eyes focused on how they adapt to life in the post-Mourinho era.
The man who led them to UEFA Cup and Champions League success has now departed for pastures new, leaving new coach, Victor Fernandez, with an almost impossible act to follow.
“We know everything about the opposition,” Fernández said.
“We know that they have a very strong defence and that they make use of their counterattacking system whenever possible.”
Porto opened their SuperLiga defence with a disappointing 1-1 draw with Braga at the weekend, but Fernandez saw enough in that match to feel optimistic about his side’s prospects tonight.
“I want Porto to play like the Porto that played the first 45 minutes against Braga,” the coach said.
“We need to have good possession and play as a team for the full 90 minutes. In a competition like this it is hugely important that the team be fully focused for the full game.”
Meanwhile, CSKA currently lie second, two points behind FC Zenit St. Peterburg with eight games to go. But despite their obvious match fitness, CSKA captain Sergei Semak is wary about the threat posed by last season’s winners.
“Our team has already shown good form, but Porto will definitely have the desire,” Semak said.
“For the winners of the Champions League it must be hard to turn around and prepare emotionally for a game like tomorrow’s.”