Amorim: "We have to be very intense and tire Rio Ave FC out"
The Sporting CP coach looks ahead to the Monday night fixture
Sporting Clube de Portugal travel to Vila do Conde, home of Rio Ave FC, for a Monday night fixture on Matchday 19 of the Liga Portugal season.
Ahead of the game, coach Rúben Amorim warned of the quality that the opposition have been showing, recalling that in the last meeting between the two teams Os Leões did not have an easy task despite a 0-2 win.
“We are up against a team who play very well, who like to have the ball and who made life very difficult for us in the first 30 minutes of the Taça da Liga game. We used that game to prepare for this latest challenge, knowing that we have to put together a run of consecutive victories. It is important to keep going off the back of the victory over SC Braga," he began by saying in the press conference, before analysing 11th-placed Rio Ave FC.
“Sometimes they lose the ball because they always want to play out from the goalkeeper. They can play with Boateng and Aziz, who are very strong players. It is difficult to catch the two midfielders when they are very open, and we had difficulties there because it is difficult to cover all the spaces. It's going to be a tough game against a team that play good football."
“We have to be very intense and tire Rio Ave FC out, otherwise they will tire us out -despite the fact that we are in very good shape physically. One-on-one situations will be important, because we use two similar formations, and then we have to have an advantage because we are Sporting CP and we have the responsibility to win the game. It will be a very difficult match, against an excellent team and a coach who has won at all levels."
Amorim was asked about a possible starting role for winter reinforcements Ousmane Diomande and Héctor Bellerín.
“Bellerín is very intelligent, we know him and he has adapted well. He is used to tactical work and understands the game very well. As for Diomande, I am more and more confident that we made an excellent deal by bringing him in. He adapted very well from the first training session and is very strong with and without the ball, so I wouldn't choose anyone else. So much has been said about the price we paid, but I am very confident that we have a great player there. I will only give the starting XI tomorrow, but those two will be in the squad."
As for Youssef Chermiti, the 18-year-old striker who was in the starting lineup and performed well against SC Braga, the coach declined to reveal whether he will be back in from the beginning.
“Chermiti or another player could play. We are leaving it open," he replied coyly.
Even though Nuno Santos is at risk of missing O Clássico with FC Porto if he receives a yellow card, Amorim said that he will keep nothing in reserve.
"We will give everything, obviously. It's important not to say who the striker will be, but Nuno Santos will play. This is the most important game, and Nuno Santos will start. Taking into account what we want for this game, he will play and there will be no holding back."