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​​Sérgio Conceição: “Mission accomplished”

Coach was pleased with the victory and the three points, but insists the fight will last until the end

After the 2-1 victory over Sporting, for matchday 25 of Liga NOS, Sérgio Conceição talked of a mission accomplished, in a match he considered difficult, but that ended with a fair victory for the Dragons. According to the coach, the key to the match was efficiency, which meant scoring a goal that decided the fourth match opposing both teams.

Still, the fight for the title remains the same, with three teams with the lead in reach. Not so positive was the confirmation of Marega’s injury, which the coach admitted will be another “headache”.

The fairness of the victory
“The key to the match was that we scored, that we were efficient. We started the match well, with great quality in the first 15, 20 minutes. Marega hit the post, he was alone in front of the goalkeeper, and we ended up scoring on our third chance. It’s true that Sporting never stopped trying to score and make use of space. They have a good coach, and are very competitive, with a lot of quality. The first-half ended with a goal for them, which I’m not sure if there wasn’t a tackle on Brahimi. The message was simple at halftime: go in as always, and condition their playmaking and game dynamics. We scored the goal and then we tried to make it 3-1, always looking for goal. After we send in Reyes, we did fall back a little, we could have scored 3-1, but truth is that Sporting could have also made it 2-2. We are happy with the three points. That was our goal.”

Identity will always be the same
“We suffered a little, but we kept the three players in the middle. We could have made it 3-1, as their defence played high, and we could have taken advantage of that. There may have been a lack of criteria when starting some plays, but we were too anxious in those moments. In terms of strategy, the match was good for us”. Obviously, Sporting also has quality and was able to condition us.”

Path is not over yet
“We believe in what we do. This was an opportunity to train players of great quality. I speak for myself and for the entire coaching squad. But truth is that we still haven’t won anything; so far we just lost a title. I’m happy for all that we have been doing, but our path is not over yet. We are doing a competent work, and we are all determined to win the championship. It’s important to remain realistic.”

Sporting in a fight open to three teams
“They are not out of the fight. They are a team that showed several times that they have heart, soul, and desire to win the championship. I can see their determination on the pitch, so I think that no one is out. There are still three teams fighting for the title and it will be a fight until the end. I don’t have to send any messages to outside the squad. The message I transmit is for the squad. A match can change everything, even the mind of people, as we are nearing the end. We look at the next match knowing that every match will be a final. Today, we took an important step, against a rival, but no more than that.”

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