“The motivation is great, regardless of the opponent.” This was one of Sérgio Conceição's strong statements in the statements that followed the victory over Lusitano de Évora (6-0), for the third qualifying round of the Portuguese Cup. The coach praised the seriousness of the team and the fact that the players continued to seek more goals, even after already having achieved a comfortable advantage, also highlighting the performance of the younger players, leaving a word of appreciation to António Folha and the rest of the staff of the B team. In the press room at Estádio do Restelo, the coach talked a little more of these youngsters and the only subject not discussed was the next challenge, against Leipzig, for the UEFA Champions League (Tuesday, 19h45, mainland Portugal time). Saturday will be the moment to think about the next match.
Respect and opportunity for the youngest
“The bare minimum for us was seriousness and respect for the opponent, as those are the first features to win the match. These are different forces and I want to leave a word of appreciation for the effort made by Lusitano. We also did our part, we were serious, determined and ambitious, even when we were already winning by a difference that could make us relax. We were serious for the full 92 minutes. It was also important to send in one or two young players from the B team, and I must praise their staff, especially Folha, who has been doing a great job with these kids. And the blue sea continued, more than 4,000 fans in a Cup match in Lisbon, against Lusitano de Évora, it's fantastic.”
What if the game had been in Évora?
“If the stage is not the best, if the grass is in worse conditions, it benefits the team with less technique. We knew that, no matter where we were playing, we would always be prepared to be as competitive as we were. It was an important victory because I saw several situations that pleased me. I’m talking of the players from the B team and also of the less used players, who gave a fantastic response. The motivation is great regardless of the opponent.”
The choice of the team
“We had to use at least eight players that played in the last three matches. Apart from these, we sent in Sá, who hadn’t played yet, Hernâni, to help him, and Dalot. If this were not the case, we would probably start one or another player from the B team, but we have to follow the rules. I was pleased with everyone and it’s important to offer the players more match minutes, as have six matches in 18 or 19 days. It’s important to have everyone motivated and prepared for the competitions we are fighting for.”
Galeno and the other young players
“We also had Luizão, who went in to the midfield with a very interesting result, Dalot, Jorge... Galeno is a young man with quality, he has been playing a fantastic championship, similar to last year. He did all the pre-season with us, knows what is requested in the centre of the attack and in the wings. I pay attention to all, and there is a very positive interaction between the A and the B team. We cannot jump to conclusions in this match, but these are youngsters to keep an eye on, I am aware of that.”