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Wednesday, 01 April 2020

Porto will take Mourinho return in their stride: Coach

AFP , Monday 28 Sep 2015
Mourinho
Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho (Reuters)
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Porto will not be affected by the return of Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho to his former club or his reunion with goalkeeper Iker Casillas as they prepare for their Champions League meeting on Tuesday, according to manager Julen Lopetegui.

The 52-year-old Mourinho enjoyed a successful two-year spell with Porto earlier in his career, during which he twice lifted the Portuguese championship before winning the club's second Champions League title in 2004.

He returns to the Estadio do Dragao on Tuesday for a Group G clash as Chelsea aim to improve on a poor performance in their 2-2 draw at Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday.

"I don't think about comparing myself to him," Lopetegui told a news conference at the club museum. "I have respect for a coach who was absolutely everything to this club and in this country. I have respect, but we want to win tomorrow.

"We are interested in the game tomorrow. The past is history, it has passed," Lopetegui added. "Chelsea are a top team, with world-class players, but we have great ambition and want to win. They are a strong team and will require our all."

Porto's former Real Madrid stopper Casillas does not have a warm relationship with the Chelsea boss, following the troubled time they shared together at the Bernabeu.

The two men will meet again as Casillas is set for his 152nd Champions League outing, which would break Xavi's record for the most appearances by any player in the competition.

"(Casillas and Mourinho) doesn't matter," said Lopetegui. "The game and the competition demand the maximum of us, these issues (surrounding the club's former coach and player) are more important to (the media). Internally, nothing motivates us apart from the game itself. Casillas is delighted to be at FC Porto."

Porto defender Maicon, who should overcome an ankle strain suffered in a 2-2 draw with Moreirense on Friday to play against the Premier League champions, heaped praise on Casillas.

"He is a beautiful player and a great colleague. He's humble, hard-working and ambitious. He came at the right time to the right place."

Lopetegui also dismissed the suggestion that Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz -- who has previously been praised by Mourinho -- will show any bias towards Chelsea.

"If he is a close friend of Mourinho, that doesn't worry us," he said. "He's a great referee, and everything else is irrelevant."

Porto began their campaign with a 2-2 draw at Dynamo Kiev while Chelsea thrashed Maccabi Tel-Aviv 4-0 at Stamford Bridge.

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