Villas Boas issues Porto pledge

Porto head coach Andre Villas Boas insists he will be staying at the club, despite reports of interest from English Premier League side Chelsea.The 33-year-old has enjoyed an impressive first season at Porto, winning the Liga Sagres title and leading his side to the Europa League final against fellow Portuguese outfit Braga in Dublin on May 18 – the first ever European final between two Portuguese teams.

He secured the league championship with five games to spare, and Porto only need to avoid defeat in the final game of the season on Saturday against Maritimo to go through the entire league campaign unbeaten.

They can complete a treble if they beat Braga in Dublin and Vitoria Guimaraes in the Taca de Portugal final on May 22.

Braga coach Domingos Paciencia has already announced he will be leaving the club at season end and is hotly tipped to join Sporting Lisbon.

But despite speculation linking him with a big-money move overseas, Villas Boas has declared he is keen to remain at Porto next season.

“I don’t think this news conference is aimed at discussing the future, the futures of both coaches. Domingos Paciencia chose to speak about it, very well,” Villas Boas said.

“My future, as you know, is completely linked to Porto.”

Porto born-and-bred, Villas Boas owes much of this season’s success to strikers Hulk and Radamel Falcao.

Colombian Falcao has hit 37 goals and is the Europa League’s top scorer with 17, while Brazilian Hulk leads the Primeira Liga standings with 23.

Like their coach, both have been linked with top European clubs but they insist Porto is where they want to play.

“I have two more years on the contract with the club and if I am saying goodbye, it’s only because it’s the end of the season,” Falcao said.

“On June 30, I will be training again. In my mind, I am only thinking of winning these two competitions we have ahead.”

Similarly, Hulk said he has no intentions of moving on in the off season.

“The Europa League final won’t be my last game for the club,” the Brazilian said.

“I still have three years on the contract with Porto. It will be an unprecedented final, for us it’s an important European title that could stay with us and the club for life, so we will do our best to win this title.”

Porto last won European football’s second competition in 2003 – when it was known as the UEFA Cup – under Jose Mourinho, and Villas Boas said he was looking forward to what he expects will be a tough game.

“It is going to be a one-off game, I mean finals are like that, you can approach them in various ways,” Villas Boas said.

“Being the first Portuguese final it brings something special to the game. Both teams know each other very well but anything can happen in the game.”

“I think it has nothing to do with what happened in the league, because leagues are completely different, and it’s a challenge that is very difficult for us.”

Article title: Villas Boas issues Porto pledge

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