Ideal time to face Arsenal - Ferreira

Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira believes the Champions League clash against Arsenal will be a good test of how far his team have progressed.

Last Updated: 16/02/10 at 19:49

Ferreira: Porto host Gunners on Wednesday

Ferreira: Porto host Gunners on Wednesday

Ferreira's men head into Wednesday night's last-16 first-leg tie in confident mood, having lost only one of their previous nine matches domestically.

However, they have not had much fortune against English teams at the Estadio do Dragao, having gone down 1-0 to Manchester United in the quarter-finals last year and by the same scoreline to Chelsea in the group stages of this campaign.

And Ferreira has urged his players to prove their worth on Wednesday night.

"Porto are going through a good period and I think this is the ideal opponent for us to evaluate where we are in terms of growth and ability," he said. "This game for us has the importance of being a test of quality.

"We really want to get through to the quarter-finals, even though we know that this opponent was one of the most difficult that we could have been drawn against.

"In the last four years we have always reached the last 16, last year we were in the quarter-finals, and this year we want to continue again in the competition."

The Portuguese champions faced Arsenal twice in last season's group stages, losing 4-0 at the Emirates before recording a surprise 2-0 victory in the return fixture to finish top of the pool.

Ferreira added: "A game between Arsenal and FC Porto, in a competition like the Champions League and with the characteristics and history of the two teams, is always open and well played.

"In this context, it will always be an attractive game, which captivates the spectators.

"With FC Porto, I've already played twice against Arsenal at the Dragao: once we drew and last year we won.

"This is the first part of a qualifier, which both teams want to win. Unfortunately, we cannot ask for what we like or want.

"This round is not done by points, but by goal difference. Not to concede at home is fundamental, but winning is most important. It is only victories that give us more confidence and prestige."

Ferreira will be boosted by the return of Hulk to the squad.

The imposing centre-forward has been provisionally suspended for six months by the Portuguese football federation for his part in a tunnel bust-up involving Benfica stewards last December but is free to play in European ties.

Midfielder Raul Meireles, who has been sidelined for a month, also returns as does Alvaro Pereira.

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