Sitting fourth place in the table cross-town Leixões are the great surprise in the early phase of the campaign and will be looking to continue their impressive start at Estádio do Dragão today against Porto. Since joining the club in the summer, manager José Mota has without question done a brilliant job in creating a disciplined environment and slowly building confidence. There last match against Benfica was a perfect example as they played within their means but through a high work-rate they culled the star-studded oppositions attack and found the leveler in the dying minutes.
Jesualdo Ferreira knows that after this weeks stumble in the Champions League against Ukraine powerhouse Dynamo Kyiv, they will be open targets for the Leixões. In selecting his squad he made only one change, calling in Candeias for Tarik Sektioui. The Dragões squad list for the match is as follows:
Bruno Alves, Candeias, Farías, Fernando, Guarin, Hulk, Lino, Lisandro, Lucho, Mariano, Nuno, Pedro Emanuel, Raul Meireles, Rodríguez, Rolando, Sapunaru, Tomás Costa and Ventura.
In his pre-match press conference Jesualdo Ferreira noted he is anticipating a strong response from his Dragões:
"I expect a good reaction from the team and we don’t think in anything else than the victory. We’ll face a squad that is playing one of the best footballs in the league and I’m sure that Leixões isn’t coming to the Dragão to defend, but to discuss the triumph. Our response has to be on the F.C. Porto’s usual level."
"We have a known process, which continues to be successful. The players are familiarized with it and I expect that they know how to interpret it. Our perspective is the same as ever: to win."
"It’s always an advantage to play at our home ground. The F.C. Porto’s fans are used to win and it’s normal that they show their disappointment when it doesn’t happen. No matter what the previous results were, we’re always focused on winning. We are the best team in the league and we have more points than our opponents. We are leaders and we want to remain like that."
I will report on the match as it concludes.