Oleh Blokhin was applauded into the FC Dynamo Kyiv press conference on his 60th birthday on Monday but he revealed that he would not be on the bench against FC Porto due to his ongoing heart condition. After losing 3-2 at Porto a fortnight ago, Dynamo are six points behind the UEFA Champions League Group A leaders and three adrift of Paris Saint-Germain FC, and while Vítor Pereira wished his opposite number the best, he promised there would be no birthday gifts on the pitch.
Oleh Blokhin, coach
Thank you for the congratulations, but to tell the truth I'm not happy having a birthday in this challenging period for my team. There were so many phone calls, the first one at 6.15am. I have nearly 60 missed calls and a few minutes ago I spoke to Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. I'm pleased with all that, but it adds to the nerves before this decisive Champions League game.
Unfortunately, I will not be on the sidelines tomorrow. We discussed it with the doctors and decided that I will watch the game from the stands. I will do the pre-match talk and meet the team at half-time. I would be happy to get three points tomorrow as a present, but in football you can never guarantee such things.
Of course, it's going to be very hard but we need nothing but a win if we want to keep our chances in the group alive. If we don't beat Porto tomorrow and PSG in the next match, we can forget about the knockout stage. We are still thinking about our tactics but I think we will not play with three holding midfielders like we did in Porto. Anyway, even the best tactics will not do if the players don't work as a team. There was an imbalance in our play in previous matches, and in my opinion the main reason was our mentality. We'll see if it's possible to change it quickly.
Saturday: Dynamo 2-0 SC Tavriya Simferopol (Marco Ruben 45+1, Mikhalik 60)
Koval; Gusev (Bogdanov 70), Khacheridi, Mikhalik, Betão; Mehmedi, Vukojević, Haruna, Yarmolenko; Milevskiy (Garmash 76), Marco Ruben (Brown 84).
• Marco Ruben scored his first goal for the club as Dynamo ended a run of four games without a win in all competitions, their worst sequence since August 2010.
Blokhin said: "Raffael and Danilo Silva will miss tomorrow’s game but Miguel Veloso is fit."
Vítor Pereira, coach
The match will be challenging for both sides. We know the class of the Dynamo players and we saw at the Estádio do Dragão that they can play really good football. They have great individuals but they are also strong as a team. We will need to give all we have to avoid defeat in Kyiv. I like Dynamo and I don't want them to be knocked out at this stage of the tournament, especially since it is their coach's 60th birthday. We wish him good health and many happy returns, but there will be no presents for him on the pitch. We have an interesting game planned and hope it will motivate our opponents to show their true character and desire.
Dynamo need three points so their coach can change tactics and play a more attacking game, but it doesn't matter to us. We will stick to our usual style and try to control the ball and act intelligently, but the most important thing is that we play as a unit. I also hope our players will have the inspiration you always need to win games. We are Porto, and we know what we want from this tournament. We have ambitions but our main aim is to win our next game. We can only look ahead once we are certain of a place in the next stage.
Friday: Porto 5-0 CS Marítimo (Martínez 3 59, Varela 35, Rodríguez 72 77)
Helton (Fabiano 74); Danilo, Maicon (Ba 33), Otamendi, Mangala; Fernando (Defour 28), Moutinho, Lucho; Rodríguez, Varela, Martínez.
• Jackson Martínez struck twice to take his tally to 12 goals in 13 appearances this season for club and country as Porto extended their unbeaten start to the season to 13 games. It was their sixth successive victory and featured league debuts from substitutes Fabiano and Abdoulaye Ba.
Helton (thigh) limped off against Marítimo but is available for the trip to Kyiv. Alex Sandro is sidelined with a left thigh problem, while Maicon (ankle) and Fernando (thigh) have been ruled out with injuries sustained on Friday. Coach Pereira gave no clues as to who would replace them, saying: "I'm not in the habit of announcing my starting lineup the day before a game."
Porto met FC Shakhtar Donetsk in last season's group stage, winning 2-1 at home and 2-0 away. Their record in nine games against Ukrainian sides is W7 D1 L1 (W3 D1 L0 away).
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