Ricardo Pereira

Ricardo: Blue Army There From The First Whistle

Portugal star Ricardo Pereira believes Leicester City will be greeted by a cauldron of noise when they step out on Filbert Way just moments before their first-ever European semi-final gets underway against AS Roma on Thursday night.
More on this story...

- Ricardo Pereira says Leicester City will be backed vociferously by the Club's fans on Thursday 
- He highlighted AS Roma's strengths during Wednesday's pre-match press conference at LCFC Training Ground
- The Foxes welcome the Italian side to Leicester City Stadium on Thursday in the first leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League Semi-Final
- Ricardo scored the winning goal against PSV Eindhoven to send Leicester into the last four

The Foxes will contest a two-legged UEFA Europa Conference League clash with José Mourinho’s men over the space of a week, starting with a home encounter before heading to the Italian capital for the return match.

Ricardo’s role in City reaching the last four couldn’t have been more significant. The No.21, in his fourth season at the Football Club, smashed home at Philips Stadion against PSV Eindhoven in the quarter-finals to win it in the Netherlands for his outfit.

That comeback triumph set Leicester up for an enthralling tie against Serie A powerhouses Roma, who overcame Bodø/Glimt across two legs and currently occupy fifth in their domestic division prior to the match.

Ricardo told the media at LCFC Training Ground on Wednesday: “We are all really excited with this challenge we have. It’s a new competition, and we are here now. We’re close to the end and we’ll do our best to keep going to play for the final, of course.

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Ricardo Pereira
Ricardo Pereira

City's No.21 trains at LCFC Training Ground prior to Thursday's clash with José Mourinho's side.

“When you are so close to the final, you have to think about that next stage, but of course you have to do this job first. We have good opponents on the other side, so we have to do well to win and to go through.

“We know they have good players, they have Tammy Abraham, they have [Nicolò] Zaniolo. The midfielders play well when the have the ball, it’s an aggressive team. We’ll have to be at our best to go through, but we’ll play in front of our fans and I’m sure it will be a nice atmosphere at the stadium.

“It will be the last game at our stadium, a European game at home. I’m sure they will be there from the first whistle, and they will help us for sure.”

Although City benefitted from two late goals away to PSV in their last European outing, with James Maddison and then Ricardo striking the final blow, the Portuguese hopes a swift start on Thursday will lay the foundations for success across two legs.

He said: "It was good because we didn’t have the result we wanted in the first leg. Still, we went and played away and won away from home, so we know we have that on our side. Of course, we’ll want to start well tomorrow and take a good result to Roma.

I would say him (José Mourinho) and the whole team will want to show the work they did this season and to be rewarded with a title. Like us, they will want to win it. He's a coach who has always won things during his career."

Ricardo Pereira

"It will be the first [European] semi-final for the Club, we have the opportunity to arrive to a final and win a European competition, so it would be a big achievement and we’re all aware of that. That’s why it’ll be a big game for us.

"For us, a European semi-final is new too. We had a little bit of a taste of winning a competition (the FA Cup last season), that helps us, but I don’t think it will be a major difference because they have huge players from national teams, like Sérgio Oliveira, who played with me [at Porto]."

Mourinho is a manager that Ricardo knows. The full-back spent five years at Porto, where Mourinho won the UEFA Champions League in unlikely fashion in 2004. A fellow Portugal native, he has built a reputation as one of the modern era's finest coaches.

"Being a supporter of Porto, I was aware of him, of course, being the coach of my club," he said. "He did great things there, the Champions League with Porto was a great achievement.

"I would say him and the whole team will want to show the work they did this season and to be rewarded with a title. Like us, they will want to win it. He's a coach who has always won things during his career."




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