Porto coach Julen Lopetegui hailed his players’ “titanic effort” during the defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge that saw them exit the Champions League at the group stage.
Lopetegui’s side were beaten 2-0 in west London as an early Ivan Marcano own-goal followed by Willian’s second-half strike condemned Porto to Europa League football.
Having been the brighter before Chelsea’s opener, Lopetegui refused to be downbeat as Porto failed to pick up the win necessary to progress while Dynamo Kiev booked their place in the next round with victory against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
“With 10 points normally that it is enough to qualify but we lost the previous match [to Kiev] and [the Chelsea game] was complicated,” he told Sport TV.
“We played against one of the best teams in the world on the counter-attack and we started better than them.
“We had a plan but the goal changed everything. We wanted to stop their transitions but Chelsea became calmer and forced us to change.
“Now we will compete in the Europa League. We will fight for another title.
“The team made a titanic effort in the second half. It was a perfect backdrop for Chelsea but the team’s attitude in the second half was very good. They fought to the end and I have nothing to point out to them.”
Questions were raised when the likes of Vincent Aboubakar and Cristian Tello began on the bench – the former in particular having been a threat when Porto beat Chelsea in the reverse fixture.
But Lopetegui explained: “We had some physical problems. We have played several games in recent times.
“We wanted to take control of the game and prevent their movement. We had a good opportunity from Brahimi at the beginning.”