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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Porto in Cancelo’s sights: “It’s a final - a game we have to win”

João Cancelo joined Xaxi in looking ahead to Tuesday’s matchday 5 clash against Porto at Lluís Companys stadium.

Update:
João Cancelo joined Xaxi in looking ahead to Tuesday’s matchday 5 clash against Porto at the Lluís Companys stadium.
Rodolfo MolinaDiarioAS

Barcelona welcome Porto to Lluís Companys stadium on Tuesday for the penultimate game in Group H. The Catalans top the group on nine points and only need to avoid defeat to secure their place in the next round. But in spite of that, plus having a home advantage, João Cancelo is taking nothing for granted and insists the team will be treating the game “like a final”.

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How will Barça be approaching tomorrow’s game?

I think we be treating it as though it was a final. We know how important is it for us as a team and the club. We could have qualified for the Last 16 in the last game against Shahktar. But I think it is a very, very important game. We have a very tough month coming up with some big games - starting with tomorrow’s game, which will be like a final - one that we have to win.

How confident is the team after recent results?

It’s true, in the last few games we have not played as well as we would have like. But against Rayo, the sensations were better in comparison to other games, but it wasn’t a perfect game either. I think we need to improve. We are now recovering key players like Frenkie [De Jong]. The nice thing about football is that, three days later, we have another good opportunity to redeem ourselves by putting in a good game to boost confidence.

Do you agree with what Xavi said that criticism from the press affects the team?

I don’t think it affects us that much. Personally, it doesn’t affect me. I am little more adult. We have a very young team, and it’s normal that some of the younger ones might be affected. But this is Barça, it’s a huge club, one of the biggest clubs in the world and you have to know how to deal with pressure - that’s the one way we can achieve anything.

You have played at top clubs like City and Bayern. Have you noticed any nerves in the team and the club when results don’t come your way?

Like I said, there are moments when we’re not playing as well as we could. I don’t think we are playing as well now as when I first arrived. But football gives you a second chance, to build confidence and to improve on your last game. That’s what we are looking for. We have a very young team with a lot of quality, we have players who bring a lot to the team and we are going to try to improve together collectively and improve this situation.

Do you expect a different Porto than you played earlier in the group stage?

They are a very strong team and we know they are aggressive, they have great players. We expect a difficult game because they also have a lot at stake.

Can you give us any clues about your future?

I can’t give any clues now. I have loved this club since I was a boy. All my idols played here. I am facing this season with a lot of ambition and I want to do my best to achieve success here.

Do you agree with Xavi that the team lacks mentality?

I don't think we lack a winning mentality. I have always seen Barça win. We have a young team and maybe they don't have my experience or Gündogan's, but this is getting the hang of it. Football allows you to improve every three days and that is what we will try to achieve tomorrow.

Porto in Cancelo’s sights: “It’s a final - a game we have to win”

Personally, how are you feeling?

I started well but I'm not bad either. It's not everyone's good time. This is not resolved individually but collectively. We work and have ambition to win titles and that is what we are looking for.

Is it a special match for you because of your past at Benfica?

Not particularly. Now I am defending Barça. All I care about is winning and qualifying for the next round.

How did Pep Guardiola help you play as an inside winger?

I am very grateful to Pep Guardiola because he made me a better player and also to Xavi for asking me and playing for this great club and being in this city.

How do you see Lamine Yamal?

Lamine is an incredible player. He has spectacular talent. At his age I was in the youth team. I try to talk to him to make things easier for him. When I pass the ball to him, I always try to make sure he is one-on-one because that is his strength.

How have you seen João Félix, who hasn't scored in a few games?

Félix has been doing well in training and performing well in games. He’s working very well. If tomorrow he scores, people will start saying he is the best in the world, that’s how it is.

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