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Danny puts patriotism aside for Porto test
Published : 22 Sep 2011 11:05:33
Zenit St Petersburg's star Portuguese midfielder Miguel Danny has warned he will put patriotism aside for a crunch Champions League tie against FC Porto next week.
"After the defeat in Cyprus we have no other choice but to win," said the Venezuelan-born 28-year-old Portuguese international.
"Porto are very strong, they won Europa League this year but we should be ready to overcome any rival if we want to advance to the knockout stage."
Russian champions Zenit had been leading their Champions League opener against APOEL only to fall 2-1 in Cyprus. So they desperately need a win in next Wednesday's Group G tie in St Petersburg.
"We have nobody to blame for the defeat except ourselves," he said.
"We almost achieved the needed result after scoring the opening goal but lacked strength of character and desire for victory to keep our lead through.
"But Zenit players are strong and experienced fighters. Many of them have the experience of winning the UEFA Cup and, I believe, they are able to avoid a repetition of their mistakes in the future."
Beating Porto could prove a tough task however as the Portuguese champions have won all four of their previous visits to Russia including twice last season against Moscow sides CSKA and Spartak.
But Zenit can boast a 100-percent record at home in Europe competition last season.
And Danny has been on fire since returning from injury last month.
He scored the opening goal in a 5-2 league win against hosts Samara, and found the net again in the next game - a 5-0 win against visiting Krasnodar.
The midfielder, who holds Russia's transfer record after being lured by Zenit from Dynamo Moscow for 30 million dollars in 2008, was again the hero at Kazan last weekend with a double which lifted Zenit from two goals down to a 3-2 win.
Danny has experience of playing against Porto as he has faced them three times in the Portuguese league with Maritimo between 2001 and 2004.
"Playing in the Champions League is a different experience," he admitted.
"Here you have an opportunity to try your skills against Europe's strongest clubs and the world's best players. This experience is priceless for any professional footballer.
"On Wednesday we will play without any fear, trying to perform our best to fulfill the task our coach will set us.
"I believe we can achieve it."
Caracas-born Danny's sons Bernardo and Francisco are also budding stars and are currently in Zenit's youth academy.
"They both do well in the academy and are practicing comfortably with boys who are two years older," he said.
"But the most important thing is that they enjoy their practices. Maybe one day they will step on the pitch as professional players."