Amorim: "There was a lot of maturity on the part of the players"
The coach speaks after a sensational night for Sporting CP
At the end of a glorious night for Sporting Clube de Portugal, as they eliminated Arsenal from the UEFA Europa League, coach Rúben Amorim analysed a performance that saw his team progress to the quarter finals.
"There was a lot of maturity on the part of the players. We started both games going behind, and we always managed to turn things around and remain very compact, understanding what the game required," he said.
"We had the physical, technical and tactical capacity to match a team with a different pace. We had to play very well in both games and the players did that. More than the result, it's about the way we played. Today was an important game for the visibility it had, but we have got through to the next round."
The coach also justified his decision to make his substitutions late on.
"The team were doing so well that I didn't want to change any position to change the game. Any player could have been in the starting lineup, but nobody seemed tired. The players were very motivated and I didn't want to change the dynamic. All the young players we have can reach the level of Arsenal players, but they have to grow," commented Amorim.
"I won't forget what we went through this year, which is something that can happen again. I don't deceive myself about anything. I'm very happy here and my objective is to win, at least, one more title for Sporting CP."
After describing Pedro Gonçalves' equalising strike from distance as "a special goal from a special player," he admitted that "extra time was very difficult" for Sporting CP.
Questioned about what this triumph could mean for the younger players, he explained that "it has the impact that they want to have and that the people around them want to have."
"We have to praise them and then get back to work. I'm not crazy and I know the impact this game had on the players, but everything can change. It's a good moment for them, they played well and they got through to the next round, but we can't forget what happened before," he stressed.
Regarding the future in the UEFA Europa League, the coach stated that Sporting CP can "win any game or lose against any team."
"If we go from this starting point, we are on the right path. Liga Portugal is our priority. Difficult games are coming, anything can happen and that is our focus. When the UEFA Europa League comes around, we will see what happens. Of course, this game helps the players to believe."
Finally, Amorim thanked the Sporting fans for their support in London.
"We're used to it. It was the same in Frankfurt and against Tottenham Hotspur. The fans believe because the team believe. It's contagious. The fans feel proud of their team."