Sporting Clube de Portugal visit Italian side Atalanta BC this Thursday for the second leg of their UEFA Europa League Round of 16 tie, after the 1-1 result from the first leg in Lisbon.

Upon arrival in Bergamo, coach Rúben Amorim held a press conference to preview what will be the fourth game against Atalanta BC this season.

“We have one more day of recovery and that is no longer an issue for us. We will be prepared for the game, as we demonstrated in Arouca, where we improved as the game progressed. We expect a very strong Atalanta BC, with very physically strong players. It will be a game of duels. We need to be inspired and physically fit, and I feel that the team are prepared for this challenge, knowing that it is decisive and that there is no away goals rule. Atalanta BC will have to beat us and we will have to beat Atalanta BC. That’s what we’re going to try to do,” he began by telling journalists, going on to explain Hidemasa Morita’s absence from the squad.

“We tried our best to bring Morita along, as he was able to train in the morning. We did an assessment on the bus and he felt even worse, so we didn't want to risk it -not only for Morita's sake, but also because we were all going on a plane together and it felt like it might be a bout of the flu. In order not to risk his health and that of everyone else, we didn't bring him along. We tried our best. Morita is very important for our team, but his health and that of his teammates comes first."

The coach admitted that the group have to draw on the good moments from the previous three meetings with their Italian opponents, but suggested the focus must be even more on the work itself.

“We are a team that have grown a lot throughout the season and we understand the game more. My players are more prepared than they were a week ago.”

Another of the topics discussed was the possibility of rotations, as Sporting CP will play again on Sunday, against Boavista FC, in Liga Portugal.

“We are going to do the same rotation we have been doing up until now, because it is the only way to win all the games. Almost all of our players have played in all competitions. In the event of any doubt, perhaps the league title is our priority, but this is a game that is still to be decided, just like the Taça de Portugal. The tiredness will be put to one side. Let's think about winning the game and then we'll see who's recovered for other matches. We are not going to risk players who have minor problems and lose them for upcoming games. Tomorrow the team that I think will win the game against Atalanta BC will play," he insisted.

Asked whether goalkeeper Franco Israel is ready for a possible penalty shootout, Amorim had no doubts.

“I'm sure he is. It takes inspiration and some luck, but Franco is very capable in this facet. If we reach that point, we will be very confident."

“We talk a lot about the physical side, which is very visible, but we cannot ignore Atalanta BC's technical ability. They are very good technically. We have to be good at the basics of football: Passing, receiving, not getting ahead of ourselves, choosing the best side to play the ball, putting bodies behind the ball and not wanting to go straight ahead, improving when Franco has the ball and waiting for the right moment,” he stated.

Finally, Amorim spoke about Gian Piero Gasperini, coach of Atalanta BC.

“We have followed coach Gian Piero Gasperini for a long time. Whilst a lot of coaches want many players inside, he puts many players around the pitch to make it difficult to direct pressure. We have to be specific in how we press. He is very intelligent tactically, has a lot of experience and has an impact on the players. From the way the team plays, you can see that there is a lot of intensity in his training. I also consider myself a coach that implements this characteristic on my teams. It’s another test for us and I think this is one we’re going to win.”