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Paulo Fonseca: We’ve arrived being very well prepared

Wednesday, April 13, 2016



Press conference of the head coach of Braga ahead of the return game vs Shakhtar

- This year’s Europa League features only five teams who managed to reverse the outcome and make it further after suffering a 1-2 defeat in the first leg. What is your prediction of success percentage for tomorrow?
- In our age, we should not talk about football in numbers and statistics. It does not mean anything at all. Tomorrow we will try to show only our best side. We know that we have been facing the tough opponents, so will have to work hard in this game. Nevertheless, this does not diminish our ambition. We will try to advance further.

- What strategy have Braga brought here and what will the team show on the pitch tomorrow?
- We’ve arrived here being very well prepared and having big ambitions. And I, as well as all our players, perfectly understand how important it is to advance to the Europa League semi-final. If we talk about strategy, our team always play the same style. We do not change significantly, regardless of the stadium, the opponent or the country we are in. We try to always boss it, have control of the ball, play more near the opposition goal and score. I think that the upcoming match will not be much different from the one in Braga.

- You have already explained Braga’s strategy for tomorrow, stressing that nothing will change dramatically. What can you say about the opponents after seeing the first leg? Will Shakhtar’s style of play change? What can we expect from them?
- As I’ve just said, I do not think there will be a big difference. I know that Shakhtar love to play on the counter. As the last match revealed, they are pretty good at doing that, except for the closing minutes. Tomorrow's game will be very similar to the first one. You will see some interesting football.

- Do you have any staffing issues? Have all the players been healthy and ready for the match?
- It is true that we have some losses after the previous league meeting. But I think that the absence of those players will not be a kind of excuse before tomorrow's match. We will appear as the strongest team we can be at the moment, because we know that we have to play against very serious and skilled opponents.

- Just an hour ago, Mister Lucescu discussed the previous match here and said that there should have been two penalties. If they had been awarded, the issue of who makes it to the semis  would have been solved. How can you comment on it?
- Actually, it's a surprise for me. At the end of the first game I did not hear any shouts from the fans, as well as any criticism towards the referee. But I want to emphasise that Mister Lucescu is a very experienced coach. And if he’s noticed something, maybe, there are certain grounds for thinking so.

- Welcome to Lviv. At Euro 2012, Portugal national team played the group stage games in this city. That is, the Portuguese fans are already familiar with Lviv, but they won’t be numerous at tomorrow’s game... Why is that, according to you?
- Difficult question! I think people find it quite hard to give up their jobs and their businesses in the middle of the week, and fly that far to support the team. But I hope that tomorrow, the stadium will be full to capacity and the fans will see a real spectacle! No matter who are more numerous in the stands, the Portuguese or the Ukrainians, the most important thing is that a great atmosphere reigns tomorrow with everyone enjoying the clash.

- It is possible to ask the player a question? ‘Cause he’s got bored...
- In fact, only women here in Ukraine, are not afraid to pose questions. (Laughs.)