Amorim: "It is another game where we have an obligation to win"
The Sporting CP coach previews the derby against SL Benfica
Sporting Clube de Portugal play SL Benfica this Sunday at the Estádio José Alvalade, in a derby on Liga Portugal Matchday 33.
The day before the game, Rúben Amorim underlined the obligation to win in his pre-match press conference.
“The week was good for us. We were able to train things, not only for this game, but also for what we want to see in the future. We prepared for the game well and, as usual, we will pick a team ready to win the game," he began by saying.
“I don't think that SL Benfica are the favourites. I think that we have nothing at stake in this game and, therefore, it will always be a difficult game for our club and for us -because we are not fighting for the title. SL Benfica still have a gap at the top, even if they don't win in Alvalade, and that's why it will be an easier game for them."
“I expect an SL Benfica side that want to be crowned champions, but that always play the same way. We have to have the ball and play our game. We had a very good 30 minutes away from home against them, but for the rest of the game SL Benfica had more possession and were slightly on top. Therefore, what I want is to take those 30 minutes and turn them into 90. I'm not very interested in how SL Benfica are going to come into the game: I am interested in how we are going to approach things, both defending and attacking. We have the plan in place and it is yet another game where we have an obligation to win," continued Amorim, who refused to comment on the changes he has planned for his starting lineup.
"Anything is possible, but I will not open the game too much. We have to pay attention to the opponent's characteristics and try to take the game to where we want it, and that's where the characteristics of our players come in. Franco Israel is clearly prepared and, since Adán got the red card, it's clear in my head that he's going to play. I have complete confidence in Franco.”
Sporting CP are still fighting for third place, but without putting pressure on themselves.
“As long as it is mathematically possible, we have to believe, and, above all, we have to win our games. We have the team to beat SL Benfica, we've already proved that we can beat any opponents, and we are playing at home. We know what surrounds the game, but that doesn't change anything. We have to be used to playing to win."
“This game is not going to change what we've done or the inconsistency we've had. We want to win and we're going to play to win. In my mind, the gift we can give the fans is to win the game and prepare for next season, so that the next campaign is befitting of the greatness of the club," he said, saying that a victory for SL Benfica will be just another win.
He also mentioned the two days off that he gave his side, explaining: “Since we've been here, that's what we've always done in such a long week: we train very hard for two days, we take a break and then we have two more days to prepare the game."
“It's always been what we've done. I already have a few years of experience and I know that this can cause some problems, but what I think about is how am I going to help my players. Sporting CP has to win every game and, therefore, it is no different to any other,” he justified, adding: “The important thing for me is that the players realise that we do not change things depending on the results and league positions. We have a way of working, we demand the maximum from the players, they arrived back here and prepared the game well."
The coach, who has experienced derbies on both sides of the equation, was also asked which one was the most outstanding for him.
“All of them are remarkable. For me, as a player, maybe it was the first when I was a kid. In terms of this team, the most striking was the first derby we had at Alvalade, in which we won with a goal from Matheus Nunes. We moved nine points ahead of SL Benfica. It was a very important moment and it was also important because Sporting CP had not won a derby at Alvalade for some time."