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Amorim: "The objective is to win and improve in relation to the last game"

By Sporting CP
06 May, 2022

​The coach gives a pre-match press conference before the game against Portimonense SC

Sporting Clube de Portugal play away to Portimonense SC this Saturday, on Matchday 33 of the Liga Portugal campaign. Ahead of the game, coach Rúben Amorim praised the opposition, whilst also stating his confidence in his side taking the three points.

“It will certainly be a difficult game, at a difficult ground, against a team who are very strong at defending in set pieces and have very strong transitions, as we saw at Alvalade. They won't be fielding the same XI as last time, because some players have left and there are others suspended, so there will be changes in the characteristics of the players, but not in their idea," he stated.

"We have studied the opposition and we are ready for the game. We are in good form and scoring many goals, but cannot suffer with so few opportunities granted to the opponents. The objective is to win and improve in relation to the last game,” added the coach.

Sporting CP are relying on slipups from their rivals in the title chase during the final weeks, and Amorim commented that “We have to have the same attitude, whether we have a chance or not. When you are at Sporting CP you always have to think about trophies, but there are two games to go and we have to win our game, earn our points, remain the best defence and we have to score more goals. We want to improve in every aspect and, when there is a champion crowned, we have to start preparing for the next season."

Despite saying that “anything is possible in football,” he admitted that he does not believe that Sporting CP can still win the title, but made it clear that he takes away very positive things from this season.

“The analysis is made at the end of the season. So far we've won two trophies, but it can't be considered very good if we don't win the league."

“I take a lot of positive things from this season. Now we are better and we have a better team. In terms of the club, because we didn't win the title, it's not positive, but the players are much better, they have a lot more experience, we've made it into the Champions League group stage again and we're still fighting for trophies."

“The players are growing fast, and there are others who don't have as much of a role, but who can appear at any time. That's why I feel very positive. I know that coaches live on results, but looking at this team, I'm more and more excited about what they can give and that's why my idea of keeping this team going to the fullest. We have the potential to grow, although obviously we have to make some changes,” he explained.

For this match, Amorim will have captain Sebastián Coates, whom he calls "important in all aspects of the game, and everything else,” available. An injury relapse leaves Zouhair Feddal out, making room for the call-up of José Marsà.

Training for Portimonense SC

By Sporting CP
06 May, 2022

​The squad prepare for their Saturday fixture

Sporting Clube de Portugal trained on Thursday morning for their match against Portimonense SC, scheduled for Saturday at 8:30pm local time.

Rúben Amorim had the entire squad at his disposal, also calling up several players from the youth setup: Diego Calai, Rodrigo Ribeiro, Chico Lamba, Rafael Fernandes, José Marsà, Flávio Nazinho, Miguel Menino, Edson Silva, Lucas Dias, Vando Félix and Tiago Rodrigues.

The team will have a further session on Friday morning at the Academia Sporting, before Amorim previews the Liga Portugal Matchday 33 game in his press conference.

Photo by José Lorvão

Amorim: "We completely dominated the game"

By Sporting CP
03 May, 2022

The coach explains how his side beat Gil Vicente FC

In the aftermath of the triumph over Gil Vicente FC, Sporting Clube de Portugal coach Rúben Amorim expressed his thoughts that the win was more than deserved, also highlighting the role of his attacking trio - Marcus Edwards, Pablo Sarabia and Pedro Gonçalves - in obtaining the victory.

“We managed to understand where the space was, because Gil Vicente FC defended a little higher and there were some moments in which we gave them the ball. The fact that they pressed us higher meant that we were able to break through several times, and it was because of our width that we had that capacity. Samuel Lino, as we knew, made an adjustment to play with a five-man defence, and when they wanted to put pressure on us, they had difficulties in catching Nuno Santos and Porro,” he began by saying in his press conference after the game.

“The players were good at bringing the ball out and realising that the space was out wide, in addition to them having the individual quality to solve problems. We reached areas in which we could score many times, but we didn't finish the chances very well. Either Porro's crossing was too heavy or Nuno Santos' crosses were slightly late. We can improve on that, but we showed a lot of good things. We missed a lot of chances, but we completely dominated the game."

Asked about Rodrigo Ribeiro, the 17-year-old forward who came on at the end of the game, Amorim said that he was a young player “with a lot of talent."

“He can play in any of the front three positions, because of his mobility, and he is very intelligent. Even though he doesn't have that much experience training with us, he knows how to organise the press from the middle. He had the help of his teammates and I noticed that. The way he received the ball and took it to goal to finish shows his personality. On his second move, the way he controlled with his left foot, turned around and didn't rush to shoot, are details that we noticed when he started training with us,” he revealed.
Amorim also commented on the fact that this result guaranteed Sporting CP a spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

“It is something that was down to us, and that no one can take away from us anymore. Even so, we have to beat Portimonense SC and that's all we have to think about,” he stressed, before explaining why Pedro Gonçalves took the second penalty, after Pablo Sarabia had converted the first. 

“They were the ones who made the switch. I could even have said it, because Pote needed a goal, but I didn't say anything. Nuno Santos also wanted to score, but they gave Pote the opportunity and that shows that they know each other well,” concluded the coach.

Photo by José Lorvão / Isabel Silva

Win against Gil Vicente FC guarantees second place minimum

By Sporting CP
03 May, 2022

A 4-1 victory means Sporting CP will have Champions League Group Stage football next term

Sporting Clube de Portugal beat Gil Vicente FC by 4-1 on Matchday 32 of the Liga Portugal season, and secured a lowest possible finish of second place for the current campaign. The team thus have a guaranteed a place in next season's UEFA Champions League Group Stage.

With captain Sebastián Coates unavailable due to injury and Bruno Tabata suspended, coach Rúben Amorim reshuffled his defence to put Gonçalo Inácio in the centre, Luís Neto on the right and Matheus Reis on the left, in addition to bringing back Pedro Porro. In attack, the trident of Marcus Edwards, Pablo Sarabia and Pedro Gonçalves was retained.

As part of a club initiative for Mother's Day in Portugal, the players came out with the names of their mothers on their shirts.

Sporting CP provided the first warning right away: Nuno Santos, from distance, tested the reflexes of goalkeeper Andrew.

As expected, Sporting CP began to dominate against the league's fifth placed side, pushing on the wings in an attempt to find spaces behind the opposing defense. However, it turned out to be from a set piece that they came close to opening the scoring again. Off a free kick on the edge of the area, Sarabia shot powerfully, missing the target by centimetres.

The first goal of the match arrived from a penalty, when Nuno Santos was brought down on 19 minutes and Pablo Sarabia converted for his 18th goal of the season.

Even with the advantage, Sporting CP did not take their foot off the accelerator and remained focused on attacking. After Sarabia had tried his luck on two more occasions -one of them going just wide-, Pedro Porro came close to a fantastic goal with a drive that pushed Andrew to the limit.

It was only a matter of time before the second goal was scored, in the 38th minute. Following a header by Neto, poorly met by the goalkeeper, Marcus Edwards tapped in the rebound to make it 2-0.

Gil Vicente FC managed to pull a goal back through Fran Navarro in the final moments of the first half, and before the whistle Pedro Gonçalves shot wide from inside the area.

On their return from the interval – and after the rugby, swimming and gymnastics teams had been honored at half-time for their respective recent trophies– Sporting CP came back out onto the pitch with an unchanged lineup and with the same hunger. After Sarabia threatened with a shot that went over, the third goal arrived through an own goal by Lucas Cunha, who was attempting to clear a cross from Nuno Santos.

Amorim then brought on Paulinho in place of Edwards, giving a fixed centre forward to the attack, and on his first intervention he backheeled for a long-range shot from Gonçalves -again kept out by Andrew.

The chances followed one another, including a second penalty of the match: In the 63rd minute, from a penalty, Gonçalves scored his 15th goal of 2021/22.

From then on, the home team slowed down and preferred to play in a more reserved fashion. Although Gil Vicente pushed, the more dangerous chances were for Sporting CP, who threatened again through Nuno Santos and Paulinho.

With everything practically decided, the final minutes were notable only for a long range effort wide from Rodrigo Ribeiro, the 17-year-old forward who came on for Sarabia.  
Os Leões, who surpassed the hundred-goal mark this season – they now have 102 –, will play their 33rd and penultimate Liga Portugal match on Saturday, May 7th, away to Portimonense SC.

Sporting CP: Antonio Adán [GR], Luís Neto [C], Gonçalo Inácio, Matheus Reis, Pedro Porro, João Palhinha (Manuel Ugarte, 66'), Matheus Nunes (Daniel Bragança, 83'), Nuno Santos, Marcus Edwards ( 56', Paulinho), Pedro Gonçalves (Rúben Vinagre, 67') and Pablo Sarabia (Rodrigo Ribeiro, 84').

Photo by José Lorvão

Amorim: "We were more like the team that we are used to being"

By Sporting CP
26 Apr, 2022

The coach is impressed by the reaction of his side against Boavista FC

After the 0-3 triumph over Boavista FC, Sporting Clube de Portugal coach Rúben Amorim analysed the performance and praised the response from his players.

"We were more like the team that we are used to being. We weren't that aggressive when we got into the box, but we had several balls in the first half that saw our three forwards facing up to the Boavista FC defence, and we created problems there. We got the opening goal in one of the few opportunities we had, but we were always in control of the game. We had another opportunity for Pablo [Sarabia] in the first period, and in the second half we controlled the game better, we found more space and we didn't let Boavista FC go on the attack," he began by telling journalists, before recognising that his team had some problems stopping Boavista FC's Gorré in the first half.

"[Gorré] created some difficulties for us, because he dropped back a lot to defend and when he had the ball he showed the ability to drive through, forcing Palhinha to help out in that space. In the second half that didn't happen, and we clearly controlled the game, created opportunities and the players who came on helped the team a lot: Manu [Ugarte] gave stability, Dani [Bragança] brought the quality he usually gives, just like Tabata, and [Rúben] Vinagre was very aggressive in looking for space."

 "The game went well, we gave few chances to Boavista FC, we created chances of our own and we were competent," summed up the coach.

Despite the slip-ups by FC Porto and SL Benfica on this matchday, Amorim said that he would stay true to his previous statements about the title fight.

"We knew it was very difficult and obviously it will be hard, but it's not worth thinking about the games in which we dropped points. It was good to get back to winning ways and move closer and closer to UEFA Champions League qualification, to keep our project going and focus on growth. I think that in the title race it doesn't change anything, but it's always good to cut the gap and the longer we keep things alive, the better for us," he underlined, adding: "We are there in the fight for second place and trying to delay the title being decided as much as possible."

Returning to his explanation of the game, Amorim emphasised his satisfaction with the team's adjustments.

"We were competent. When we have to defend, we all do it. We won and we didn't concede goals, so that was the response I expected after some bad times and everything that was said during the week. We focused on what we had to do, that's what we did and it's an excellent sign from the team."

He also passed comment on the performance of winter signing Marcus Edwards.

"Every time he has played, he has done very well. In the semifinal of the cup, he felt the rhythm of the game a lot and it was noticeable. I think he can give us much more, he knows that and he is still adapting to our way of working, but he is already approaching that. He was very good defensively too, in his pressing and covering spaces."

Photo by José Lorvão

Return to winning ways against Boavista FC

By Sporting CP
26 Apr, 2022

The team take a 3-0 triumph on the road in Liga Portugal

Sporting Clube de Portugal returned to Porto on Monday night for a league game against Boavista FC, won 0-3 by Os Leões. After a difficult week, they produced a consistent and effective response to get back to winning ways and close the gap to first place – now standing at six points.

In addition, the team are just one point away from clinching second place in Liga Portugal, which would take them directly into next season's UEFA Champions League group stage.

In changes from the game against FC Porto in the Taça de Portugal, coach Rúben Amorim left out the suspended Matheus Reis, Pedro Porro and Paulinho, as well as Manuel Ugarte, bringing in Nuno Santos, Ricardo Esgaio, João Palhinha and Marcus Edwards. In addition, Zouhair Feddal returned to the squad after an injury, joining youngsters Gonçalo Esteves and Rodrigo Ribeiro on the bench.

Sporting CP took the early initiative and played with plenty of width, and their first chance came from Esgaio down the right; Nunes, on the edge of the box, hit the ball badly, however. Fluid movement between the front three, regularly exchanging position, helped keep the team mobile and unpredictable.

Boavista FC were missing their top scorer, Petar Musa, and one of their most used players in Sebastián Pérez. They tried to stay organised and quickly go on the attack after each ball recovered - mainly through Kenji Gorré.

Sporting CP enjoyed 64% of the possession in the first half, and converted it into chances for the likes of Pedro Gonçalves, who shot off a rebound and had his effort blocked by Rafael Bracali.

They would open the scoring with another move created from the left channel, with Nuno Santos putting in a cross and Gonçalves bringing the ball down, Nunes striking with a low shot into the net for his fourth league goal of the season.

In the 40th minute, Sarabia tested Bracali from outside the area, but the goalkeeper sent out the Spaniard's swerving shot for a corner. 

The second half brought with it a more daring Boavista FC. In the 50th minute, Antonio Adán made his first save, holding off a long shot from Jeriel De Santis, whilst Makouta shot just wide. Amorim decided to make his first change shortly after, bringing in Ugarte in place of Nunes.

The second goal arrived immediately afterwards: To culminate a good collective move, Edwards' cross took a swerve off a deflection from Rodrigo Abascal, the ball hitting the post before completely crossing the line.

Further switches saw Rúben Vinagre and Bruno Tabata enter for Nuno Santos and Pedro Gonçalves. With less than a quarter of an hour to go, Amorim also introduced Feddal – back in action after more than a month sidelined – and also Daniel Bragança. 

Sporting CP hit the crossbar through a Paulinha header, as a third goal seemed ever closer. It would finally come when Tabata was fouled in the box, and he himself would convert the penalty as Os Leões won 0-3.

Currently on 76 points, Sporting CP are six points behind FC Porto and eight ahead of third-placed SL Benfica. Next up, they take on Gil Vicente FC at the Estádio José Alvalade on Sunday.

Sporting CP: Antonio Adán, Nuno Santos (Rúben Vinagre 68'), Gonçalo Inácio, Sebastián Coates [C] (Zouhair Feddal 78'), Luís Neto, Ricardo Esgaio, João Palhinha, Matheus Nunes (Manuel Ugarte 57'), Pedro Gonçalves (Bruno Tabata 68'), Marcus Edwards and Pablo Sarabia (Daniel Bragança 78').

Photo by José Lorvão

Amorim: "We had a lot to learn"

By Sporting CP
22 Apr, 2022

The coach reflects on elimination from the Taça de Portugal

After the defeat against FC Porto (1-0) that confirmed Sporting Clube de Portugal's elimination from the Taça de Portugal, coach Rúben Amorim analysed the match in his press conference.

"We started the game well, with more ball and employing our style of play. We didn't have many chances, but we had control and from certain balls we could have been better. FC Porto were having more success from second balls and waiting for our mistakes. Up until the 60th minute, we had the opportunity for Matheus [Nunes], but from then on the game became stagnant and FC Porto managed to make things difficult for us. When you have difficulties putting the ball upfield, it doesn't matter what characteristics the players have," he began by telling journalists at the Estádio do Dragão.

"Looking at both legs, FC Porto were the better side". Focusing on a week he considered "difficult", the coach looked back on his journey at the club so far: "Everyone has to be prepared at Sporting CP and we all have to pull in the same direction, because we know that we came here at a low point and what we did was take decisions. What happened today was football, and I can handle that better; not being competitive is what makes things difficult for me to handle."

Now, the objective that is on the horizon is "to guarantee second place in the league".

"Without that, we will have taken two steps back. Obviously, the fans are not happy and neither are we, but now I have my mind on the next trophy," he said, before reinforcing: "We know what we have to do. We have the clear objective to maintain this project."

Finally, Amorim highlighted that the team "still have a lot to improve," although he considers that Sporting CP "are much more of a team than last year."

"If there's a team in Portugal that has an idea of how they play, it's Sporting CP, and the players give everything. Today we lacked quality. I took a lot from this and the last game; we had a lot to learn and so did I," he concluded.

Photo by José Lorvão

Sporting CP eliminated from Taça de Portugal

By Sporting CP
22 Apr, 2022

The team lose 1-0 to FC Porto, missing out on a trip to the final

After their 1-2 set back at Alvalade in the first leg, Sporting Clube de Portugal went to the Estádio do Dragão for the decisive second leg of the Taça de Portugal semi-finals, eventually falling 1-0 to FC Porto and going out of the competition.

Coach Rúben Amorim made two changes to the starting XI from the derby against SL Benfica: João Palhinha and Nuno Santos were rotated out, with Manuel Ugarte and Matheus Reis (back from suspension) replacing them.

Despite the punishments related to the last Clássico played at the Dragão being decided just 48 hours before this game, all the players sanctioned were able to be part of the game: Bruno Tabata and Matheus Reis thanks to the appeal to the Disciplinary Board, and Pepe for the opposing side in a decision made two hours before kickoff.

With a sold out crowd in the stands and rain falling on pitch, Sporting CP took the initiative in the first half (43%-57% in possession) and had the first opportunity within the opening five minutes. Off a corner, the ball flew out of the area, where Ugarte shot wide of Marchesín's goal. A well organised FC Porto responded with several moves upfield, but without creating real danger for goalkeeper Antonio Adán.

Sporting CP would continue to attack, and Pablo Sarabia produced a delightful chip -albeit in an illegal position. Shortly after, from a recovery Pedro Porro shot wide and then Marchesín stifled another attempt by Sarabia. The number of fouls increased, as well as the number of protests, breaking up the flow of the game.

In the final minutes of the first half, FC Porto improved and Zaidu had the best opportunity for the hosts, shooting wide off a quick offensive transition. Sporting CP would have to go looking to score the two goals needed to make it through.

Matheus Nunes, in the 50th minute, came very close to cutting the deficit, but could not beat the keeper when through on goal.

Ricardo Esgaio came on in place of Luís Neto for Sporting CP, but the midfield continued to struggle with several turnovers. FC Porto's Fábio Vieira shot from distance, forcing Adán's first save of the second half, and it was followed by two more shots by Vitinha: One over and the other into the hands of the Spanish goalkeeper.

With Sporting CP having more difficulties going forward and looking to break the deadlock, Amorim introduced Marcus Edwards, removing Sarabia in the 70th minute.

The stalemate remained until the 83rd minute, when second half substitute Toni Martínez hunted a ball inside the area. The goal was only given after a VAR check, but put FC Porto further ahead on aggregate.

Amorim moved Sebastián Coates to centre forward for a last push, but it was in vain for Sporting CP. The team completed the game with ten men after Porro was shown a straight red card, and were eliminated from the Taça de Portugal.

Sporting CP: Antonio Adán [GR], Matheus Reis, Gonçalo Inácio, Sebastián Coates [C], Luís Neto (Ricardo Esgaio 56'), Pedro Porro, Manuel Ugarte (João Palhinha 84'), Matheus Nunes, Pedro Gonçalves (Nuno Santos 84'), Pablo Sarabia (Marcus Edwards 71') and Paulinho.

Photo by Júlio Costa

Amorim: "The two teams are evenly matched"

By Sporting CP
20 Apr, 2022

​The coach speaks on the eve of the Clássico against FC Porto

This Thursday, at 8:15pm local time, Sporting CP visit the Estádio do Dragão for a Taça de Portugal semifinal second leg against FC Porto. After their 1-2 defeat in Alvalade, the team are looking to turn around the tie, as explained by coach Rúben Amorim in his pre-match press conference.

"The fact that we have won trophies does not take away any responsibility from us. We had a difficult defeat against SL Benfica this past week that cost us, but we now have the same responsibility as if we had won. What we want is to get through the tie. We are at a disadvantage and we need to score at least two goals. That's what we're going to try to do," he told journalists.

"We have to score more goals than FC Porto. We haven't been able to do that before, because we've had draws against them. The two teams are evenly matched," he added.

"The day after the derby we felt better, and I can see the team thinking about a tie that will decide who goes through to the final. They seemed ok today; active, prepared and focused to face a great team."

"Whatever people say, Sporting CP are playing much better this year than last year."

"FC Porto are dangerous in all phases of the game: Counterattacks, organised attacks, second balls, set pieces... We have to focus on what FC Porto do well, but mainly on what we do well, trying to find spaces. In the last two games against FC Porto, their way of attacking was different. We studied that and we have a gameplan."

Asked about expectations for the remainder of the season, Amorim recalled that the team have already won two trophies (the Super Taça and Taça da Liga) and that the existing pressure is a consequence of success.

"There were seasons in which Sporting CP came in second and it was considered a successful campaign in terms of objectives".

He assured that "FC Porto will not play for a draw. We have to have a lot of conviction and play well, create opportunities, score goals and not concede."

Photo by José Lorvão

Amorim: "Two transitions decided the result"

By Sporting CP
19 Apr, 2022

​The coach reflects on the derby defeat to SL Benfica

At the end of the derby between Sporting Clube de Portugal and SL Benfica, which ended with a 0-2 defeat, coach Rúben Amorim attended a press conference to analyse the game.

Speaking to journalists, he explained that "the result is what made me least satisfied."

"The game started with Sporting CP taking the initiative and SL Benfica scored. Then they defended with a very low block and took a lot of space in which for us to play away. We were uninspired throughout the game. We got through many times and they sent the ball for a corner. As the game progressed, it created some anxiety. We risked everything because we had to score two goals, and that doesn't always go well. Crosses didn't end well. One team was defending further back and waiting for the transition, and we had more possession, but our final ball and shot were without inspiration. Two transitions decided the result."

According to Amorim, the team "perhaps got worse after the substitutions, because, perhaps, the coach took players off in the wrong positions."

"João Palhinha didn't work out very well at centre back and we put in Ricardo Esgaio. It isn't the players' responsibility."

"We lost a derby and, more than that, we stopped being able to fight for the title. That's hard for us, and it's not worth hiding it. We should be fighting for the title, but tomorrow I'll be back. We've been through tougher times and we have the Taça de Portugal to prepare," he added.

He also guaranteed that, for the near future, "there is no greater motivation than being in the semi-finals of the Taça de Portugal."

 "We are going to the stadium of a team that are about to be crowned champions and have an advantage in the tie. We've done more difficult things before, and that's how we're going to face the game, because we're a team who can turn the tie around."

"The team need to be better in the key moments of the match, whether that be attacking or defending, and hope for a more inspired day. FC Porto and SL Benfica are different teams, so you have to prepare the game indifferently."

Finally, Amorim denied that any substitution or rotation had been made with the Taça de Portugal in mind.

"We were fighting for the title and I only wanted to know about that. The Taça de Portugal did not enter my head. We wanted to win the game and we had to score two goals. We wanted to be fighting for the title."


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