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Porto manager Sergio Conceicao hits back at Mikel Arteta’s criticism over playing style

Porto manager Sergio Conceicao has given a brutal response to Mikel Arteta’s comment criticising their style of play against Arsenal

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Porto manager Sergio Conceicao
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In a fiery response to Mikel Arteta’s post-match comments, Porto manager Sergio Conceicao said that Arsenal should concentrate on winning matches rather than focusing on an aesthetically pleasing style of play. 

The Portuguese side secured a crucial win in the Champions League last 16 first-leg tie against Arsenal on Wednesday, despite the Gunners dominating possession.

Despite having 65% possession, Arsenal failed to register a single shot on target, ultimately succumbing to a 94th-minute winner by Porto’s Galeno. In the aftermath of the match, Arteta expressed dissatisfaction with Porto’s playing style, claiming they had “no intention of playing.”

According to Portuguese outlet O Jogo, Conceicao swiftly responded to Arteta’s remarks, stating, “It’s an opinion. They wanted to play, we wanted to win,” The former Portugal international defended his team’s approach, highlighting the diversity of strategies in football and emphasising that possession alone does not guarantee success.

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“Arteta is from the [Pep] Guardiola school, who is the coach with the most titles in the world,” Conceicao remarked. “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.”

Porto defensive stalwart, Pepe, echoed Conceicao’s sentiments, stressing the importance of the result and the need for perfection in the second leg. Despite recognising the challenge posed by Arsenal’s quality, Pepe praised Porto’s performance and Galeno’s decisive goal.

Arsenal, previously in stellar form with five consecutive Premier League victories and 21 goals scored, had a lackluster display in the Champions League clash. Arteta acknowledged his team’s disappointment, pointing out the need for greater purpose and aggression, especially in the first half.

Looking ahead, Arteta acknowledged the importance of learning from the defeat, with Premier League fixtures coming thick and fast, including a crucial clash with Newcastle United at the Emirates this weekend. With the tie finely poised, Arteta urged his team to be more ruthless in the pursuit of reaching the quarter-finals.

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