Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Photo by Francisco Lino

Amorim: "I think O Clássico will be the most difficult game of the season"

By Sporting CP
27 Apr, 2024

​The Sporting CP coach looks at the game against FC Porto

Sporting Clube de Portugal travel to the Estádio do Dragão this Sunday, for an 8:30pm local time 'Clássico' against FC Porto.

Ahead of the game, which could see Sporting CP clinch the title if SL Benfica lose on Saturday against SC Braga, coach Rúben Amorim stressed that he is not expecting an easy game.

“Regardless of the league table, a game between Sporting CP and FC Porto always has great meaning. I think it will be the most difficult game of the season, due to all the conditions surrounding it. We know the club we are going to face, their coach and the pride they have. They are not in the fight for the title and we are, and we want to win, but we still have to take at least six points to become champions. It’s about getting them quickly, and that’s the focus," he began by telling journalists at the press conference.

Amorim also reflected on the differences between this game and the first of the season, which his side won 2-0.

“FC Porto have been playing 4-3-3, but they could change their characteristics because perhaps Pepê will have to return to right-back. Taremi could come in and play alongside Evanilson, or Baró could come in. Zaidu is completely different to Wendell, who has a different way of finishing in the final third, plays more inside and isn't as fast. Francisco Conceição has improved the team a lot, made them more dangerous, more aggressive and very strong in one-on-ones. It's a different FC Porto, but they are still strong. In the first game we had the same points coming into it, but now it’s different.”

The coach also considered that the 18-point gap in the standings does not reflect the difference between the two teams.

“We experienced this last year. We played better than in our first season when we won the title, but as time went by we started to create a gap and, for teams that are used to winning, it is much more difficult to turn things around. The table does not reflect the quality of the teams, neither how close nor far away they are. FC Porto will be very strong and aggressive, there should be a full house and the fans will support their club. Sérgio Conceição is very proud, so I know it will be a very difficult game."

In terms of his squad, Amorim revealed that "Matheus Reis is not fit, Antonio [Adán] is not fit and Viktor [Gyökeres] will be called up to the squad but it is still a doubt, because he has a small problem."

Amidst interest in his trip to England earlier in the week, the coach wished to clarify that "Sporting CP were aware of this, which is important and changes the context, but obviously it was a mistake and the timing was completely wrong. It didn't seem like it to me at the time. It was inappropriate, even more so when I am so demanding with my players and always the first to say that each person's problems cannot come ahead of the team. I have withdrawn players from the squad for much less. It was my mistake, and I have to accept it and live with it. It didn’t seem that serious to me at the time, but thinking more coldly, of course it was,” he said, before continuing.

“I gave explanations to the players and staff, but now it’s time to move on. I want to apologise to Sportinguistas, the staff and, above all, the players for the mistake I made. I also want to talk about the part where I broke my word that there would be no meeting. Things are not always black and white. In the same way that I broke my promise at home, because I said I would coach for another year and then stop to spend time with them, I will always disappoint someone. It happened, but now we have to focus on the game”, he reinforced.