PORTO coach Jesualdo Ferreira has challenged his team to be cleverer than Manchester United in a bid to bridge the financial gulf that exists between the Champions League quarter-final opponents at Old Trafford tonight.
Although Porto knocked United out on their way to lifting the European Cup under Jose Mourinho in 2004, the clubs have drifted since then.
United’s vast wealth helped them become champions last season and yet again, all four English teams have reached the last eight.
But Ferreira remains undeterred and feels Porto can record a shock win.
“When you look at the money rankings and analyse the differences, it gives a certain pleasure to see us there,” said Ferreira.
“United and Porto’s conditions are different. The leagues are different and the players too.
“I would like to say we could sign big stars but it wouldn’t be true. We have to sign players nobody knows.
“But the game is the same and we can compete for results and titles. We just have to be cleverer than the other teams.”
Ferreira dismissed the perceived advantage Porto may have due to United playing twice in 48 hours.
The former Portugal U-21 coach believes United must have the squad to cope, otherwise they would have pushed the Aston Villa game back to the Saturday as originally planned.
Rotation is not an option open to Ferreira, who has still managed to guide Porto towards a third successive league title while keeping alive their European ambitions.
“It is hard for us to save players,” he said. “We have a heavy schedule but have not been able to rest players because they are all games we want to win.
“It is inevitable we have so many games but we just have to cope with it.”
Ferreira will be counting on the striking talents of Hulk and Lisandro to get the away goal Porto crave.
It is the hardest task possible for the Portuguese outfit although, Ferreira is happy to face the challenge head on.
“It was always likely we would be drawn against an English side,” he reflected.
“But Manchester United were the ones I would have chosen to play against and my players would have made the same choice.
“It is a chance to prove what we can do against a top team.
“I have watched United and know what to expect. We will be well prepared.”
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