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Porto star Pepe fires warning to Chelsea ahead of Champions League clash

Pepe ‘believes’ Porto can knock Chelsea out of the Champions League on their way to lifting the trophy and says the Premier League club’s recent spending spree ‘does not matter’ ahead of the quarter-final clash.

Chelsea face Porto on Wednesday night in the first leg of their quarter-final tie as they bid to win the Champions League for only the second time in their history.

Thomas Tuchel’s side laid down a marker with an impressive victory over Atletico Madrid in the previous round, but now face a Porto side who knocked out Italian giants Juventus.

Many view Porto as the weakest team left in the Champions League but Pepe – who won the tournament three times at Real Madrid – says the Portuguese side can produce another upset against Chelsea.

The Blues, who are currently fifth in the Premier League, spent more than £200million during last summer’s transfer window on the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell, but Pepe says the cost of Chelsea’s squad ‘does not matter’ as Porto look to reach the semi-finals.

‘If I didn’t believe it [that Porto can win the Champions League], I wouldn’t wake up every day to come and train at Olival [Porto’s training ground] with the passion I have for football,’ Pepe said at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

‘I always believe that it is possible to win the Champions League with FC Porto.

‘The credit is due to our coach who makes us the first to believe his ideas. Today there are no easy games and there is a lot of evidence for that.

‘Believing in our work and strictly following what the coach asks of us, we always have many possibilities to win games and to overcome challenges like this.

‘Chelsea have a squad that is valued at almost 700 million euros, but that doesn’t matter. We all know that Chelsea have great players, but we have prepared the game well and we will see what happens in the 90 minutes.

‘In football there are no certainties, but I hope that we can be well and be the team that we got used to by our coach and our fans.’

Porto will be the ‘home’ side on Wednesday evening but, due to travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the match will be played in Sevilla.

‘Even in different circumstances, we play at home and we have to play with this aspect,’ the 38-year-old defender added.

‘The team is well, positive and desire that the game arrives in order to be able to demonstrate the work that it has done to our coach and our fans.

‘It is always good to play at home, because it reminds us of our colours, but we are prepared and focused.

‘Not conceding goals at home is very important. In that sense, the team is focused and prepared to make a good game and not suffer, which is also important.’

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