Revered tactician Arrigo Sacchi believes Porto play the continent’s best football at the minute alongside Liverpool and Manchester City.
Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have both cultivated reputations for adopting eye-pleasing brands of football, with their press-and-possess systems combining style and substance to take European football by storm.
Sacchi was actually one of the pioneers of high-pressing football, with his Milan teams of the 80s and 90s espousing a high-octane blueprint that mopped up trophies aplenty and often overwhelmed opposition teams.
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Klopp’s mentor at Mainz, Wolfgang Frank, actually took inspiration from Sacchi’s style and there are certainly parallels with Liverpool’s current iteration and the esteemed Rossoneri side that sealed consecutive European Cups in 1988/89 and 1989/90.
The Italian has naturally labelled Liverpool as one of the best ball-playing teams in Europe right now, placing them alongside Man City, and perhaps surprisingly Porto, though Sergio Conceicao’s side are currently unbeaten this season and post a whopping +41 goal difference in the Primeira Liga.
In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Sacchi was giving his thoughts on the current Milan boss Stefano Pioli, as well as Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi after both managers locked tactical horns in the Derby della Madonnina at the weekend, which saw the former win 2-1 thanks to an Olivier Giroud brace.
Sacchi said: “They are two good coaches, they must believe even more in what they do and in their own game. More conviction is needed in order to style the team.
“Look at Liverpool, Manchester City, but also Porto, that is, the teams that are expressing the best football in Europe. In Italy we are often under rhythm, and this is a defect to be erased.”
Porto have been in stellar form this campaign as they look to wrestle the Portuguese top-flight title off Sporting, with Conceicao’s men currently leading the charge in the table and having scored 55 goals, the third-most in Europe’s top five leagues plus the Primeira Liga — only Liverpool (58) and Bayern (68) have more.