Conceição hits back after Arteta criticism: 'He wants to play, we want to win'

Sergio Conceição was not pleased with the criticism that Mikel Arteta directed at his team after the Champions League encounter between FC Porto and Arsenal. The coach of the Portuguese side asserted that his team possesses more of a winning mentality than Wednesday's opponent in the round of 16.

SoccerDino, Website Writer
Published: 11:27, 22 Feb 2024

In the aftermath of a heated contest that saw FC Porto emerge victorious over Arsenal, a war of words has unfolded between the two sides' managers, highlighting a stark contrast in football philosophies and strategies.

Mikel Arteta, the head coach of Arsenal, sparked controversy with his pointed critique of Porto's approach to the game, particularly taking aim at their tactical disruptions and aggressive play style which, according to him, significantly hampered the flow of the match. Arteta's dissatisfaction was evident as he lamented the high number of fouls committed, a total that reached around 35, suggesting such a level of disruption was a detriment to the sport and should not have been permitted by the officials. His comments implied a belief that such tactics undermined the integrity of the game, stating, "That should not be allowed; it was a mistake. But now we know how they play, so we also know what to expect next time."

Sérgio Conceição, FC Porto's head coach, was quick to counter Arteta's criticisms, defending his team's tactics with a poignant rebuttal that underscored a fundamental divergence in their footballing ethos. Conceição's response, "He wants to play, we want to win. That's the difference," succinctly highlighted the pragmatic approach Porto adopted, emphasizing results over stylistic purity. He pointed out Arteta's adherence to a footballing philosophy deeply influenced by Pep Guardiola, one that venerates possession as the game's core principle. Conceição, however, challenged this notion by advocating for a more utilitarian perspective on possession, arguing, "Possession has to do with what you do with it. Possession is about scoring goals and preventing them."

The statistics from the match painted a clear picture of the contrasting styles between the two teams. Despite Arsenal dominating ball possession with 65 percent, they failed to translate this control into meaningful opportunities, as evidenced by their inability to register a single shot on target throughout the entire 90 minutes. In contrast, Conceição highlighted his team's effectiveness, stating, "Today, we were the most dangerous team," a claim substantiated by Porto's performance which, despite less possession, posed a greater threat to Arsenal's goal.

The brewing rivalry and exchange of barbs between Arteta and Conceição set the stage for an intriguing rematch, scheduled for March 12th. This upcoming encounter promises not only to be a clash of two storied football clubs but also a tactical battle between two coaches with diametrically opposed views on how the game should be played. As anticipation builds, the football world will be keenly watching to see which philosophy prevails: Arteta's possession-based approach or Conceição's results-oriented strategy.

Updated: 11:27, 22 Feb 2024