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Photo by José Lorvão

Amorim: "There are no easy games in this league"

By Sporting CP
02 Feb, 2022

The coach looks ahead to the game against Belenenses SAD

Having won the Taça da Liga, Sporting Clube de Portugal returns to Liga Portugal action when they face Belenenses SAD on this Wednesday. In his pre-match press conference, coach Rúben Amorim warned that despite their playing against the team bottom of the league, "there are no easy games."

"We know that in order to maintain our position and to try to climb the table, we have to win our games. We are in good form, but the team are already used to that and we have also had some slip-ups this season, so we will face this game like we did the final in Leiria. We have some doubts about the way Belenenses SAD will perform, but there are no doubts about the way we will approach the match. We have an obligation to win. We will make alterations, because we believe that this is the best way to maintain intensity in the way we play."

With the winter transfer window closed, Amorim addressed the club's movement in the market, highlighting the return of Islam Slimani and the arrival of winger Marcus Edwards.

"Slimani is a different kind of striker, not least because our team has changed a little bit. We play very high and we have had many games in which we have put in several crosses and lacked a presence in the area. More than once, we have been without [Sebastián] Coates and we have missed him in our aerial play. In addition, Slimani is a player who has come in at zero cost and is within our reality, because he knows the club very well. He is 33 years old, scores and is intense in his pressing. We felt that he was a good solution for the team. He can be a target man who will help us to win games. and I hope that he's happy here."

As for the Edwards,  who joins from Vitória SC, Amorim admitted that Sporting CP's interest was longstanding.

"We had interest in him since last year and it didn't happen. This time it was possible and the player was very keen to come. It is important that he is joining now, because he is very introverted and I know it will take time for him to get to know his colleagues. He has very good characteristics, is very strong between the lines and good one-on-one. He will adapt well; there are many young players here who speak English, so what we hope is that both players adapt to a project that is not only short-term."

The coach said that Edwards will be in the squad on Wednesday, but that Slimani would only arrive in Lisbon the morning of the game.

Amorim also commented on the departures on loan of Tiago Tomás and Jovane Cabral.

"Tiago Tomás' leaving is a step that is about the characteristics of the game. He was missing out because we were losing many metres up front, which previously benefited his characteristics, and Jovane simply had an opportunity to leave. I wish them the best, and they were part of a great group that helped Sporting CP to become champions."

He also made a final statement about the focus on Wednesday's match: "Pedro Porro is one of the options to play, but that doesn't mean he'll be in the starting lineup. We have [Gonçalo] Esteves and we can put a winger there, but we will see. I will choose the best XI for the game, because we really have to beat Belenenses SAD."