Amorim: "We maintained our identity"
The coach reflects on the Europa League win
After Sporting Clube de Portugal won 1-2 away at SK Sturm Graz, coach Rúben Amorim analysed the match at the Stadion Graz Liebenau.
"We were the first Sporting CP side to win in Germany and we are the first to win in Austria. That's good, but it's not the most important thing. We showed that everyone can be a starter in the team and that was important. We really wanted to win: It was the first group game and winning makes the team grow. The first half was even, with a lot of struggle for us, with the opponents playing a more direct game. We started well in the second half, we conceded the goal, but we maintained our identity -with some mistakes, but with quality and competence. It was a fair result, at a difficult ground with a crowd that supported the opposition. We will certainly have the response to that in Alvalade. It was a good night and now we have to think about Rio Ave FC," he began by saying.
He also commented on the performance of some of the starters in the Thursday match.
"Several of today's players were starters in the first game of the season and performed quite well. When I look at the game, I am sure that if the other players were there today they would suffer. They came on in a phase in which there was more space. We didn't put anything at risk with the choice of starters; it was a very difficult game."
Asked about the performance of Iván Fresneda, who came on for the final quarter of an hour and played a second game for the club, Amorim highlighted the fact that he was introduced "at a difficult point" and that he responded "very well."
"He'll have time to get to know his teammates better, but I liked how he played. He's very mature, but he hasn't had much time yet. He did his job, did it well and helped the team win."
Commenting on Viktor Gyökeres, scorer of Sporting CP's first goal against SK Sturm Graz, Amorim considered that "he had more difficulty in the first half because of the tight marking of the central defenders. In the second half, with more space, he dropped more to the right side. He has very good fitness and I think he is in good shape. He took a knock and he is already recovering to be an option for the game against Rio Ave FC. He had a good performance -nothing special, just a normal game for him."
As for Geny Catamo, the coach was satisfied with what he saw and has no doubt that the young player "will grow."
"He's in a new position and will understand the moments of the game better in the future. It's in those moments that he still has some difficulties, but he worked hard. In the second half he had a great opportunity. I really liked Geny's performance, as well as that of the rest of the team," he underlined.
Finally, he commented on the work by SK Sturm Graz and the hostile atmosphere felt in the stadium.
"It was the team that I expected, but with a different system. They returned to the diamond they usually use with a line of four and surprised us a little at the beginning of the game. They were aggressive and strong on their transitions, shots and set pieces. It was a difficult game, as I expected. The atmosphere reminded me of Eintracht Frankfurt. I liked the detail, with the team losing, of everyone standing up and supporting. It reminded me of my best moment at Sporting CP: The support in the 0-5 defeat against Manchester City."