João Mário: "The key to success is ambition, hard work and a sense of responsibility"
The midfielder talks about his return to Alvalade so far
João Mário returns to Sporting Clube de Portugal this season. This Thursday, in conversation with the media, he explained his satisfaction with his 'homecoming,' saying that he is “a completely different João Mário” from the player who left a few years ago.
Sporting CP have also changed, and the team that he found upon his return is different, but the midfielder does not like to make comparisons because the context is not the same either.
“We have a very pleasant atmosphere and it's a breath of fresh air for everybody, from the president, to the coach and the squad. I am very happy to encounter this situation at Sporting CP. This is a very young and humble side," he explained.
“I see a lot of quality and a willingness to do things well," revealed the midfielder.
“The key to success is ambition, hard work and the sense of responsibility that we have. The fact that we play for a big club is already a stimulus and a big responsibility, and this is a spectacular group that have taken the responsibility onboard".
The Portuguese asked for calm about Sporting CP's current position at the top of the Liga NOS table.
“We are working very well, but we are only thinking about going game by game, because we are still at an early stage of the season and it is not worth thinking differently. What we can promise is a lot of hard work and a lot of commitment to the club”.
João Mário also talked about the absence of supporters from the stands, saying that “Both the younger players and the older ones amongst us are used to playing with fans in attendance. I don't believe that any of us would prefer to play without fans, and I also don't believe that any Sporting CP team plays better without fans than with them".
Asked about Rúben Amorim, he was full of praise for the work done by the young coach so far.
“I didn't come across the coach as a player and I didn't know him well, but I've been enjoying working with him a lot. He is a coach who demands a lot of respect and competitiveness from the team, and that's good. I identify with him a lot because he has a very modern mentality".
The Portuguese also spoke about the national team, and his desire to return to Fernando Santos' plans.
“Portugal have one of the best teams in the world and it is never easy to get a call-up, but I want to continue working so that, in March, with more minutes under my belt, I can fight for a place,” he said, adding that: “It's a group of players that I know well and in which I would really like to be. I knew that being at Sporting CP, playing here and having a positive year -as it has been so far- would take me closer to returning to the national team. That also had an influence on my returning home".