Portugal 'cannot face more pressure' ahead of Nations League clash with Spain, says Santos

By Sports Desk September 26, 2022

Portugal boss Fernando Santos says his players cannot face any more pressure than they already weather, ahead of their Nations League crunch clash with Spain.

The Euro 2016 winners will play their neighbours in their last game in Group A2, with a two-point cushion ahead of Luis Enrique's side at the summit.

It means the winner will progress through to next year's finals, though a draw in Braga would be enough for the hosts to edge La Roja.

Ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup later this year, it presents a suitable high-pressure test for Santos and his side – but the 67-year-old says there can be no further weight upon what his squad already have to deal with.

"Three days ago, Portugal had to win the next two games because Spain would win their first," he said at Monday's pre-match news conference.

"But even a draw would have been enough to come to the final match alive. That's absolutely normal. I just try to take this pressure out of my players. If they do what we have to do, we are closer to victory.

"Do you think we can have more pressure than we have already? These players have pressure everywhere they go. They always play to win, to be champions. We always play to win, we demand it.

"We can't have more pressure than that, right? That means we know how to deal with pressure, as we have been earning positive results."

Portugal leapfrogged Spain to top spot on Saturday after the former picked up a handy 4-0 win over the Czech Republic, while the latter slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Switzerland.

Santos is nevertheless anticipating a tough challenge, regardless of result, adding: "I expect a Spain just like they always are. They don't change a thing.

"Everyone knows Spain. They've played the same way for 20 years. It's a team of possession, pressure, one that reacts well to the loss of the ball. They have a clear matrix in the way they play.

"We don't have to be worried about Spain but we have to respect them, as we respect all opponents. We have to be focused on ourselves."

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