“They wanted to play, we wanted to win” – Porto Boss Takes Dig At Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta After Champions League Last 16 Win

Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta Champions League
Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta Champions League

FC Porto manager Sergio Conceicao has aimed a cheeky dig at Mikel Arteta after the Arsenal boss criticized the Portuguese outfit’s style of play.

Mikel Arteta Criticizes Porto’s Playing Style After Shock Champions League Defeat

Premier League giants Arsenal fell to a 1-0 defeat to Porto in their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg on Wednesday night (February 21). Wenderson Galeno popped up with the winner in injury time after Porto stifled the Gunners at the Estadio do Dragao.

After the game, during which Arsenal failed to lodge even a single shot on target, Mikel Arteta suggested that Porto played rough and broke their fluidity time and time again. The Spaniard said (via Arsenal.com):

That’s the context of the game, we knew, we prepared [for it]. That’s something the referee has to manage; we cannot do anything about it. And we’re going to have to handle it and play our game.

He also warned that his team will be prepared for Porto’s “defensive block” in the return leg at the Emirates Stadium.

We are very used to playing against the defensive block. We will learn from it and be better in the return game,” added Arteta.

Sergio Conceicao Takes Swipe At Arsenal Boss, Says His Team Played To Win

Porto manager Sergio Conceicao was asked to respond to Mikel Arteta’s comments about the Portuguese side’s playing style. Conceicao appeared in a dismissive mood and bluntly stated his team only played to win.

Reacting to Arteta’s suggestion, the Portuguese tactician said (via GOAL):

It’s an opinion. They wanted to play, we wanted to win. Arteta is from the [Pep] Guardiola school, who is the coach with the most titles in the world. They think that the best way to beat their opponents is to have more possession of the ball, but that depends on the team and the performers they have.

We had 40%-60% possession of the ball, which is not a scandal. I didn’t mind having 30%-70% and winning too. It all depends on what you do with the ball within the strategy defined to score goals.

Although Porto defended in numbers, they ended the game with an xG of 1.19 as opposed to Arsenal’s 0.42. They also created two big chances, had a couple of shots on target, and committed fewer fouls (14 vs. 22).

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