Grp G: Porto vs Shakhtar Donetsk Preview

New Porto coach Vitor Pereira has targeted qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League ahead of their clash against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Football News:  Porto

Pereira will make his debut in Europe's premier club competition after taking over from Andre Villas-Boas following his summer move to Chelsea.

Pereira knows he has a tough task to follow after Porto won the Europa League and were crowned Portuguese champions by a massive 21-point margin under Villas-Boas.

The new manager has made a bright start domestically, Porto have won all four games so far, but he will also carry the weight of expectation in Europe after the club's exploits last term.

But rather than feeling weighed down by the glories of Villas-Boas, Pereira believes the club are well placed to build on his success and advance deep into the Champions League.

On the face of it they should qualify, with Shakhtar looming as their most dangerous rivals in a Group G which is completed by Zenit St Petersburg and Cypriots APOEL.

"After a very successful season in the Europa League we now have a new challenge in a stronger competition," Pereira said.

"What we have done in the past will mean nothing if we do not continue to build on what we've done.

"We are growing as a team and we will continue to be aggressive and believe strongly in what we are doing and the quality of our players.

"Despite the difficulty of the opponents that we will face we believe we can honour the past success of this team.

"We are clearly on the rise in terms of the quality of our play and we are confident that we can move on and get to the next phase."

Shakhtar captain Darijo Srna expects the visit to the Estadio Dragao to present one of the most difficult challenges of the group stage.

The Croatia full-back admitted he had been impressed by Porto in the European Super Cup, despite their 2-0 defeat to Barcelona, and thinks they remain strong despite Villas-Boas' departure.

"They played only a few matches without Villas-Boas," he told the club's website www.shakhtar.com.

"The only key player who left the team, was Falcao. They are still playing the same way because Pereira was Villas-Boas' assistant coach.

"Tuesday's game will be a difficult as well as fascinating match."

He added: "The Super Cup provided us with a lot of information. Porto have both strengths and weaknesses that we must exploit. Like I said, it will be a difficult game, but we will do our best."

Porto are likely to be without key men Fredy Guarin, Rolando and Cristian Sapunaru due to injury, while Hulk may be a doubt after Porto reportedly fielded a £57million bid from Anzhi Makhachkala.



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