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Page last updated at 13:49 GMT, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 14:49 UK

Ferguson took Porto 'too lightly'

Uefa Champions League, Q-final second leg: Porto v Man Utd (2-2)
Venue: Estadio do Dragao Date: Wednesday, 15 April Kick-off: 1945 GMT
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live commentary with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website. Also live on Sky Sports Xtra

Lucho Gonzalez
No Premier League side has beaten Porto at the Estadio do Dragao

By Chris Bevan

Porto legend Jorge Costa feels holders Manchester United made the mistake of underestimating his old club in last week's Champions League quarter-final.

United drew 2-2, leaving them with an uphill task in Portugal on Wednesday.

Costa, captain of the Porto side that beat United on the way to winning the competition in 2004, told BBC Sport: "I think Sir Alex Ferguson was surprised.

"Before the game, he said Porto were OK and a nice team but he talked mainly about Barcelona. That was not clever."

Porto were perceived to be one of the weaker teams in the quarter-finals, especially after the ease of Arsenal's 4-0 victory over the Portuguese side in the group stages in September.

Porto will not try to defend and hold out for a draw in the second leg - they are not used to doing that. They will try to win

Porto's 2004 Champions League-winning captain Jorge Costa

When the draw was made, United - still chasing an unprecedented quintuple this season - were heavy favourites to progress to the last four and a tie against the Gunners or Villarreal.

That is no longer the case after Porto's impressive display earned them a deserved draw in Manchester, enabling Jesualdo Ferreira's side to take two away goals back to Estadio do Dragao - where no English side has ever won.

Last week's result shocked many observers but Costa always believed Porto, who are four points clear at the top of Portugal's Liga Sagres, had the quality to upset the 2008 winners.

"Against Arsenal, it was the beginning of the season," Costa explained. "Porto have a lot of young players and they needed time to improve but now they are a much better team.

"The way they played at Old Trafford was not a surprise because I know them very well, as well as United.

"Portugal does not have a fantastic league, which is why I think Porto are not rated in England. But Porto do have a fantastic team and they showed that.

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"It was a brilliant performance but they could even have had a better result - I think they deserved one. But, in this sort of tie, it was still a great result."

Costa played for Porto for 16 years from 1989 until 2005, winning eight league titles as well as 50 Portugal caps, and the 37-year-old also had a spell in the Premier League with Charlton.

Now coach of second division Olhanense in his home country, he was nicknamed 'Bicho' (Animal) or 'Tanque' (Tank) by Porto's fanatical supporters for his whole-hearted and physical playing style.

And he believes those fans will play a large part in helping Porto finish off United and move one step closer to emulating the European success they enjoyed under Jose Mourinho, when the Dragons won the 2003 Uefa Cup and 2004 Champions League.

"In the last round, Porto got a 2-2 draw against Atletico in Madrid and then played well in the return, which ended 0-0," said Costa.

"United, along with Barcelona, are one of the best teams in Europe so it will be a more difficult task but, with Porto being at home with their supporters and with the quality of their team, I think they are more of the favourites this time.

Porto celebrate their 2004 Champions League success
Costa (L) celebrates Porto's 2004 Champions League success

"I don't think they will try to defend and hold out for a draw - they are not used to doing that. Porto will try to win the game.

"If you saw them in Manchester, they tried to play high up the pitch and that is their style - they will not change their mentality in this match."

United need to score and will be expected to come forward themselves so Porto's strategy should result in another open encounter.

That could suit United's superstar winger Cristiano Ronaldo, whose misplaced pass led to Porto's first goal at Old Trafford.

Despite being a national hero in his homeland, the 24-year-old is guaranteed a hostile reception on Wednesday because he began his professional career with Porto's fierce rivals Sporting Lisbon.

"Everybody expects so much whenever Ronaldo plays. If he has a normal game, he gets criticised," said Costa, who played against Ronaldo at club level and with him for Portugal.

"Ronaldo is the best player in the world and he can do wonderful things. I hope he does more wonderful things in the future - but I also hope he plays the second leg like he played the first."

Mourinho likes conflict, to provoke you. He works on the mentality of players. Ferreira is a quiet man, who works with you more on the field and on tactics

Jorge Costa on Jose Mourinho and Jesualdo Ferreira

Whatever the outcome, Mariano's last-gasp equaliser at Old Trafford last week has already brought back "wonderful memories" for Costa of Francisco Costinha's late leveller at the same ground five years ago.

Costinha's strike knocked out United and trigged Mourinho's now notorious celebratory touchline dash.

Costa laughed: "When Costinha scored, I went crazy. Mourinho went crazy - everybody went crazy!

"That was a wonderful team, like a family.

"That season, and before, with Mourinho it did not matter who we played - United, Real Madrid, Lazio. We went into games and we thought 'can we win? Yes we can'. They were two wonderful years."

Porto's 2004 vintage included the likes of Deco, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira and Jose Bosingwa.

All of them made their name on the European stage at the Estadio do Dragao and Costa feels the 2009 side are well on their way to doing the same.

Aly Cissokho
Last season Cissokho was playing in the French second division

"In one or two years you will hear all about Hulk, a fantastic player, Fernando and Bruno Alves, who made a big mistake to give away a goal at Old Trafford but is a talented centre-back," added Costa.

"Porto work very hard in Brazil and Argentina to bring across talented young players but they also do the same in Portugal.

"It is a policy that is working very well. For example, Aly Cissokho had a great game on the left against United. Porto signed him from Vitoria de Setubal in January but last season he was playing in France in their second division."

In 2004, as we made progress in Europe, we used to say 'we are dreaming...and dreaming and dreaming - and dreaming is good!

Jorge Costa on Porto's hopes of winning the Champions League

And while current coach Jesualdo Ferreira may not have the charisma of Mourinho, the 62-year-old's less flamboyant methods are proving to be just as effective.

"I worked with Mourinho at Porto and with Ferreira for the national team," Costa explained. "They are two very different guys.

"Mourinho likes conflict, to provoke you. He works on the mentality of players.

"Ferreira is a quiet man, who works with you more on the field and on tactics. They are very different but both are very clever."

So what are Ferreira's chances of emulating Mourinho and lifting the Champions League trophy in Rome in May? The mere thought makes Costa smile.

"Ha! You never know," he laughs.

"In 2004, as we made progress in Europe, we used to say 'we are dreaming... and dreaming and dreaming - and dreaming is good!

"If Porto can reach the semi-final against Arsenal or Villarreal, then yes, perhaps they can reach the final. I think that would be against Barcelona - because Barca, at this moment, are a magnificent team."



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see also
FC Porto v Man Utd
14 Apr 09 |  Europe
When Porto shocked Man Utd
14 Apr 09 |  Europe
European football photos
12 Apr 09 |  Europe
We took eye off ball, says Vidic
09 Apr 09 |  Man Utd
Man Utd 2-2 FC Porto
07 Apr 09 |  Europe
Ferguson rues late Porto strike
07 Apr 09 |  Europe
Arsenal 4-0 FC Porto
30 Sep 08 |  Europe
Chelsea to sign Ferreira
23 Jun 04 |  Chelsea
Mourinho to meet Chelsea
29 May 04 |  Chelsea
Porto 3-0 Monaco
26 May 04 |  Champions League
The price of success
25 May 04 |  Champions League


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