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13.10.2015, 13:22
Areia: "Porto are on a winning streak"
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INTERVIEW: FC Porto's 25-year-old right wing António Areia speaks to ehfcl.com about his clubs impressive start to the VELUX EHF Champions League and his own hunger to always achieve more
 

Areia: "Porto are on a winning streak"

In his first season at FC Porto António Areia is feeling the heat of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

The 25-year-old right wing joined the Portuguese champions at the beginning of this season, coming from rivaling side SL Benfica.

When he spoke to ehfcl.com, he had scored 16 goals in four matches, helping his team to sit comfortably among the top three teams in Group C, together with Meshkov Brest and Naturhouse La Rioja.

ehfCL.com: FC Porto have won three of their first four games. What is your impression of the team’s performance to date?

António Areia: It’s been positive. When you win three out of four matches, the impression has to be positive. We are a Portuguese team competing in the group stage of the Champions League, where the best players and teams in the world are.

ehfCL.com: What’s the mood in the team currently like?

António Areia: The team has to be good and needs to be confident because we are living an experience that any handball player would enjoy living. We have to be motivated and willing to work in order to achieve good results. We are aware that we're playing against difficult teams, but we know that FC Porto is at their level.

ehfCL.com: Is there any team in the group that you fear?

António Areia: I think there is no team that we should highlight. Our group is very balanced. The results have proven that every team can win or lose points at home.

ehfCL.com: You've been a very effective player so far. How do you evaluate your own performance?

António Areia: I still have a lot to improve. I already reached a good level, but not the level I want: the top. For that, I have to improve my efficiency, my way of working. I have to work much harder and that's also one of the reasons why I transferred to FC Porto.

ehfCL.com: I imagine that playing in the VELUX EHF Champions League has been one of your career goals. Do you feel a sense of achievement?

António Areia: From the moment I decided I wanted to be a handball player, playing in the Champions League has been a goal. A player who reaches a certain level, always wants more and I started trying to define goals and this was one of them. But I’m not satisfied. I would like to go up a level and be able to achieve the top.

ehfCL.com: You really lifted your game in the second half against Chekhovskie Medvedi last week (31:27 (12:14)). Is this a sign of improvement and experience?

António Areia: If we want play at this level, we have to play with great speed and play well in every minute of the match. If we make some errors in the second half or at the beginning of the seccond half, we have to change something. I think we are already working towards that direction. Against La Rioja, for example, we had 10 minutes that undermined our efforts in the match and we have to learn from those mistakes.

ehfCL.com: What is the biggest strength of the team?

António Areia: We have 16 players who can play at any time of the match and the quality and intensity remains. This is a huge advantage for us.

ehfCL.com: The fast counter attack also helped in many moments...

António Areia: We have to know the teams we play with and study them to understand their strengths and weaknesses and take advantage of the weaknesses to become our strengths. FC Porto defends well and has a good counter attack. In the last game, for example, our defence was great in the second half and we were able to take advantage of that.

ehfCL.com: The next opponent is Brest (on 17 October, live on ehfTV), who share the first place in the group with you and La Rioja. Will it be one of the toughest matches?

António Areia: I think the team is motivated because we are on a winning streak. Wins are a motivation for the next game, whether we are playing the national championship or the Champions League. It will be a difficult game against, theoretically, the best team in the group but we will fight until the last second and we play at home with our fans.

ehfCL.com: FC Porto's players always talk about their fans' strenght. Do you feel their enthusiasm?

António Areia: I had already experienced them from the other side (when he played for SL Benfica). They are amazing. It's a unique experience and FC Porto's fans are very important. They are the eighth player and we want to give them good games and, if possible, wins.


TEXT: Filipa Sousa / ts
 
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