Fernando Santos: Portugal have many things to improve

By Sports Desk June 09, 2021

Portugal boss Fernando Santos insisted his side have "many things to improve" despite securing a 4-0 win over Israel in their final pre-Euros warm-up game.

Bruno Fernandes got on the scoresheet either side of Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Cancelo strikes as the defending champions prepared for this summer's tournament with an emphatic win.

But, speaking after full-time, Santos shared concerns over elements of the performance, including a lull during the first half.

“The first part, not being extraordinary, was good," he told RTP.

"We did very well in the first 20 minutes, with great intensity in the various moments of play, circulating the ball well and looking for the flanks. 

"Then we had a quarter of an hour with less [urgency], but we accelerated towards the end and ended up scoring two goals."

The 66-year-old went on to reveal that he tried out a new tactical approach in the second period at Jose Alvalade Stadium.

But, while he didn't feel that his changes worked particularly well, the veteran boss struck a positive note ahead of Portugal's defence of their title starting against Hungary next Tuesday.

He added: "In the second I changed things a little, I tried to put one more man next to Ronaldo and two midfielders coming in from the inside, but it didn't work. 

"We started to miss a lot of passes and the ball circulation was not so good. There are many things to improve, certainly. 

"Now let's rest and calmly prepare for the Euros. This team has a huge will and an excellent team spirit."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Man City set to table £75m opening bid for Villa's Grealish Rumour Has It: Man City set to table £75m opening bid for Villa's Grealish

    Jack Grealish has been linked with a move away from Aston Villa in the past, and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is a known long-term admirer.

    Grealish is currently on holidays after Euro 2020, but talks of a huge transfer to City have not gone away.

    Could the Premier League champions be about to make their move?

     

    MAN CITY SET TO TABLE GREALISH BID

    Manchester City are set to officially commence their move for Aston Villa's Jack Grealish with a £75m bid, claims the Daily Mail.

    According to the report, Villa will hold out for £100m for their star England international.

    Villa have no desire to sell Grealish for anything less and will know Guardiola is keen to secure his services.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Chelsea have opened talks with Sevilla about potentially signing French centre-back Jules Kounde, according to The Guardian. The 22-year-old has a release clause worth €80m (£68.4m).

    - Arsenal have enquired with Inter about star forward Lautaro Martinez, reports the Telegraph. It is believed Inter may be willing to sell the Argentina striker for €90m (£77m).

    - Eurosport reports that West Ham are interested in a move for Manchester United defender Phil Jones who has struggled with injury in recent times.

    - Newcastle are closing in on a deal for Arsenal's Joe Willock, and it could be finalised  within the next 48 hours after his loan stint last season, claims Mail Online.

    - Liverpool may sign Wolves' Spanish winger Adama Traore in a cut-price £30m deal, according to the Star.

  • Tokyo Olympics: What to look out for on Wednesday Tokyo Olympics: What to look out for on Wednesday

    There was plenty of drama in Tokyo on Tuesday and that is set to continue as the Olympic Games ramps up further on Wednesday.

    A titanic tussle in the swimming pool should be well worth watching, but action on the bikes and in the basketball court will also draw plenty of eyes.

    Stats Perform guides you through the events not to be missed.

    TITMUS OUT TO TOP LEDECKY AGAIN

    Katie Ledecky is one of the dominant forces in the pool, taking gold in each of her prior four individual Games finals since her 2012 debut as she headed to Tokyo, but she was upset in the 2020 opener.

    Ariarne Titmus, the 20-year-old Australian, beat the United States' world record holder by more than half a second in the 400m freestyle final.

    Now, Titmus is coming for Ledecky's crown again as the pair do battle in the 200m freestyle, where another victory would send a significant message.

    TOUR STARS TAKE ON TIME TRIAL

    There are no shortage of big names in the men's time trial, with a number of Grand Tour winners involved – including Geraint Thomas, no doubt determined to put on a show after his fall in the road race.

    The last two men to head out perhaps represent the most likely Olympic champions, though, as Wout van Aert and Filippo Ganna go for gold.

    Van Aert won the final two stages of the Tour de France, including a time trial on the penultimate day of the race.

    FOCUS ON THE FOUR

    The first rowing medals of the Games are to be handed out on Wednesday, and the women's four – back in the Olympics for the first time in 30 years – should provide plenty of intrigue.

    World champions Australia changed their line-up for the Olympics, having not competed internationally since taking their title in 2019. Meanwhile, the Netherlands, world silver medallists and back-to-back European champions, have been dominant.

    The two teams won their respective heats, but Australia's time of six minutes and 28.76 seconds was an Olympic best and almost five seconds quicker than the Dutch. Whether that chasm will remain when the boats are side by side is another matter.

    TWO-WAY TUSSLE IN THE GYM

    There is more gymnastics action to look forward, with the men's individual final taking place.

    Home hope Daiki Hashimoto qualified with the best score and was outstanding for Japan in the team event, yet could only take silver as the hosts were pipped by the Russian Olympic Committee.

    It was Nikita Nagornyy's floor routine which sealed that Russian success and he will be bidding for another gold, having trailed Hashimoto in second in qualification.

    CAN DREAM TEAM RECOVER FROM NIGHTMARE START?

    The United States' latest men's basketball title defence started in miserable fashion with a defeat to France, the team who eliminated them at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

    It was Team USA's first Olympics loss since 2004, but it is highly unlikely a second will follow as they face Iran. A big performance is needed regardless to calm the critics.

    While France delivered the upset in the basketball, they face their own humiliation in the football. Only a two-goal win against hosts Japan, themselves needing a point, will secure progress through Group A for Les Bleus.

  • Man United confirm deal in principle for Varane Man United confirm deal in principle for Varane

    Manchester United have confirmed they have reached an agreement in principle with Real Madrid for defender Raphael Varane.

    With only 12 months remaining on his Madrid contract, Varane has been allowed to join the Red Devils.

    United are reported to be paying a fee of £42.7million (€50m) to secure the transfer, which is subject to a medical and terms being finalised with the player.

    Having recently brought in Jadon Sancho, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is poised to add one of the world's best defenders as United outspend their major European rivals ahead of the new season.

    Varane is expected to sign a four-year deal and Solskjaer, who has cited defensive frailties as a problem throughout his tenure, fills yet another key position.

    Having moved to Madrid in 2011 from Lens, Varane has a wealth of experience, winning three LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns as he has racked up over 350 appearances in the Spanish capital.

    In the absence of Sergio Ramos for much of last season, Varane impressed again.

    The centre-back ranked second among Madrid defenders in terms of both duels won (110) and interceptions (36) in LaLiga.

    It was Varane's aerial presence that really shone through at the back and his 73 successful aerial duels were more than double the tallies of his defensive colleagues.

    Indeed, out of all defenders in LaLiga to contest 20 or more aerial duels, Varane's success rate of 76 per cent was the best during the 2020-21 campaign.

    That ability in the air will boost a United side lacking in that sense last term, despite Harry Maguire's expertise. Excluding penalties, only Leeds United (15) conceded more Premier League goals from set-pieces than United's 14.

     

    Varane's vast experience even beyond his Madrid exploits should aid Solskjaer's side, too.

    The defender has played 79 times for France, winning the World Cup in 2018 before playing in all four games at Euro 2020 on the way to Les Bleus' shock last-16 exit.

    Varane was the only France defender who saw action and was not dribbled past by an opponent at the Euros, showing his talent on the ground as well as in the air.

    With pace to get out of trouble, Varane appears an excellent foil for Maguire as United look to improve on last campaign's second-placed Premier League finish.

    United finished 12 points behind rivals and champions Manchester City and will hope to have both Sancho and Varane available when they start their quest to bridge that gap against Leeds at Old Trafford on August 14.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.