Amorim: "We are starting the season in the best way"
The coach previews the season opener away to SC Braga
Rúben Amorim gave his first press conference of the 2022/2023 season on Saturday, ahead of the Liga Portugal opener against SC Braga. The Sporting CP coach made clear that the goal for this term is “to fight in a way that befits the greatness of the club."
“We've been here for three years now. We want to be very competitive and fight for trophies, and in Portugal and in the Champions League we want to get past the Group Stage again. We will fight in national competitions, knowing that this has to be taken game-by- game and that we are going to start with a difficult match, but our preseason was also tough, so we start the season in the best way and I feel that the team are ready,” he began by stating.
Sporting CP will kick off the campaign at Pedreira and on Matchday 3 will travel to the Estadio do Dragão, where they will face FC Porto. There is talk of it being a demanding fixture list, but Amorim sees it differently.
“For now we are only thinking about SC Braga, which is the first game and the most important. Obviously it's a difficult start to the season, but it could also be very good for us. That's how we are thinking about it, and we know that we have the capability to beat any opposition in Portugal. What I thought when I saw the calendar was that it could be a great start to the season."
In Braga, Amorim will be without Luís Neto through suspension, but he will have Manuel Ugarte and Antonio Adán available. The latter will battle for a place with Franco Israel, the new signing in goal.
“From what I saw in preseason, I think we made a good decision with him. He only has one month of work with us under his belt, but if he is already demonstrating his quality then, for sure, with a year of work he will be even better. He is our future," said the coach.
The coach also talked about the possible departure of Bruno Tabata, praising the attitude that the Brazilian player has always had and acknowledging that departures are part of the game.
"To keep some players, we have to lose others and give up squad depth. It's a big effort and we know we can't have the best of both worlds. In the event of injuries we will have to use players from the B team, but it is an option for the coaching staff."
"We have players at the Academy with great talent, like Afonso Moreira: He played in the European Championships, played in the youth team and has trained with us several times. Those players have to suffer, but we have to accelerate their development. We are living more and more off our youth setup, because to keep some players we have to give up others and gamble on young talents."
“The door is open and we have several players who can debut as long as they work and behave well, but they have to know that the demand is greater and that it is more difficult to get into the squad now than when Nuno Mendes or Matheus Nunes came through. In my opinion, currently the squad is better and has more quality and, therefore, it is more difficult to break through now."
In this first press conference of the new season, Amorim was also asked about the candidates for the league title, and responded that “FC Porto, as champions, are the ones who start a little further ahead. But there are three contenders for the title.”