Portugal Not Over-Reliant on Ronaldo: Head Coach

This combination of pictures created on June 23, 2018 shows Iran's coach (L) Carlos Queiroz in Saint Petersburg on June 15, 2018 and Portugal's coach Fernando Santos at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 20, 2018. (Photos by AFP)

Portugal coach Fernando Santos has dismissed the suggestion that his team relied too much on Cristiano Ronaldo and said they worked hard to function as a unit as they prepared to face Iran in their decisive World Cup Group B match on Monday.

Santos also played down the notion that the European champions would coast to a win against the Middle Eastern side.

Portugal and Spain, who take on already-ousted Morocco, are on four points and need a draw from their respective matches to guarantee progress.

But a tenacious and ambitious Iran, masterminded by former Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz, can still go through if they win, a feat that is not beyond them if they play as they did in their narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of former world champions Spain.

Portugal have relied heavily on Ronaldo so far in Russia. He has scored all of their four goals, including a hat-trick in the 3-3 draw against Spain. Ronaldo’s goal against Morocco made him Europe’s all-time leading scorer in international matches.

Iran coach Queiroz, who worked with him at Manchester United and with the national team, has called Portugal “Cristiano Rolando and a group of players who run after him”.

Santos said he was not concerned by Queiroz’s knowledge of Ronaldo and believed the team functioned as a whole unit.

“It has been shown very clearly that this is Portugal against Iran. It is not the coaches that are going to be playing and it is not Cristiano Ronaldo playing against someone. It is the team who are going to be playing Iran,” he told a news conference.

Despite collecting four points, Portugal have struggled to hit peak form so far in Russia and their performances have been dogged rather than beautiful, Ronaldo’s perfectly placed late free kick which earned them a draw with Spain notwithstanding.

Santos praised Iran as “the best team in Asia” and predicted a tricky encounter in Saransk.

“This (Iran) are a very strong team, well-organized with good experienced players. They are beautifully organized defensively but not only that. They are good on the counter-attack,” he said.

“It’s going to be a fascinating game. I think Portugal will move on to the Round of 16 but it’s going to be a hard-fought battle,” he said.

“We are going to try to prove on the pitch we have the quality to beat Iran but there are many difficulties.”

SOURCEPress TV
IFP Media Wire
Reports and views published in the Media Wire section have been retrieved from other news agencies and websites, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Iran Front Page (IFP) news website. The IFP may change the headlines of the reports in a bid to make them compatible with its own style, and does not make any changes to the content. The source and url of all reports and news stories are mentioned at the bottom of each article.
   
   

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

four × four =

*