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Photo by José Lorvão

Amorim: "We aren't keeping anything in reserve"

By Sporting CP
25 Sep, 2023

The coach talks before the game against Rio Ave FC

Sporting Clube de Portugal return to action in Liga Portugal this Monday, hosting Rio Ave FC. On the eve of the match, Rúben Amorim, gave a press conference to talk about the game.

"Having a balanced squad can help in these stages when European competitions have also started, but not only that: It increases the quality of training. Everyone knows they can come into the team or drop out of it, and we lacked that a little last year. We were aware of this, we have another year of work under our belts, and we have brought in three players, losing only Manuel Ugarte," explained the coach, before guaranteeing that against Rio Ave FC “those who are in the best shape and have the best characteristics will be the ones who play."

“We are carrying out a physical and tactical assessment of the players, looking at the opposition and handling this game by game. We aren't keeping anything in reserve, especially in the league, which will always be our priority, although we will play every game to win in any competition."

Sporting CP are looking for their third consecutive victory in all competitions, with the three games they have played this season at the Estádio José Alvalade all ending in victories. With five wins and one draw, this is already the best start for the team under Amorim.

He talked about what he expects from Luis Freire's Rio Ave, who have one win to their name.

“They are a team with an excellent coach, very intelligent, with a similar system of three central defenders and in which changing the characteristics of the forwards also changes their way of attacking. They like to have the ball and we have to press up on them. It’s a difficult, dangerous game, against a quality team. I don’t look so much at the results as at the way they play. There are teams with whom it is difficult to score, because they understand our way of playing well. We will be up against a team without responsibility, that will want to play well and with the ability to press high."

"I'm sure it will be a difficult game, but at home we play with 12 men. We have had very strong support from the fans. We will try to win and play well," he continued.

“We are at the beginning of the season; nothing has been done yet. Obviously we are playing well, but I think we can play better. There is a lot to work on, as we have conceded goals that we shouldn't have, like in Austria, so the players have to fight for their place. Winning games should be the norm for Sporting CP."

“Each game and each season has its own story. We have maintained the foundation of the team and it was important to start well in the FC Vizela game, in that difficult situation. Now, creating a different dynamic, the fans have also become more confident and everything is coming together. We have reset after last year."

Amorim revealed that Pedro Gonçalves will come back into the starting lineup, commenting that "He is a difficult player to bench, because he is good at defending and attacking, plays well as a midfielder and forward, and is very competitive. I understood that the characteristics of the two central midfielders and the forwards had to be different in the last game.”

Of players who also might return soon, Amorim explained that “We still don’t have a firm date for [Jeremiah] St. Juste, but he is clearly improving," in addition to adding that João Muniz and Afonso Moreira are injured and Viktor Gyökeres “is doubtful."

Of the latter, he said that “He is a forward, scores goals, has had excellent performances and attracts a lot of attention. He has been the most talked about reinforcement, but whether he has been the best or not is a moot point, as we are still on the sixth matchday."

Finally, asked to comment on the choices for The FIFA Puskás Award for goal of the year, in which Nuno Santos is nominated, Amorim also considered that Pedro Gonçalves' goal against Arsenal could have been among those chosen.

"I don’t want to pick between them, because it’s like choosing between one child’s goal or another’s. I would have liked them both to be there and I think they deserved it. I haven't voted yet, and I don't even know how voting works, but I would like to see Nuno Santos at a gala, because he dresses well,” he said, smiling.