“Slovakia made it tough for us, but we deserved to win” – Portugal match reaction

In line with Portugal’s qualifying campaign thus far, the Seleção got the job done without putting in an exuberant performance in Bratislava last night.

Coach Roberto Martínez and the players spoke as one after the match, emphasising the importance of getting the result while recognising Portugal could have played better. 


Roberto Martínez, Portugal coach:

“Slovakia made it tough for us, but we deserved to win. Winning is important, but playing well is too!

“This is a process. In modern and in international football there are no easy games. Everybody knows how to prepare well for matches and we need time to be together. That’s why it’s important not to change 15 players in each squad callup.

“We want to play in a more elegant way, use the talent more consistently. We had good moments in Bratislava. But now it seems everyone expects us to beat Slovakia 3-0? That’s not modern football. Of course we will analyse what happened here to start and prepare for Luxembourg.”


Bruno Fernandes, Portugal goalscorer:

“The most important thing was to win the game. It’s always good to score goals, and on my birthday it felt especially good, but we knew we were in for a tough match. We managed to unblock it, although we could have been more patient, there was space available, we could have created more chances.

“They closed down the space in the middle well. We’ve got a lot of high-quality players who play in the centre who can do damage, so they were intelligent. Afterwards we were intelligent using the flanks, with players like Leão in one-on-ones, Cancelo, Semedo, Pedro Neto. There was space for them in one against ones.

“We lacked some patience in the final third, to have more of the ball, being more patient to find the right pass.

“Do we feel we’re at Euro 2024? No. Our focus now is on the next game. We have to win, we know what we have to do to qualify, we want to win all our games in the group and that’s what we’ll try and do.”


Portugal win 1-0 in Slovakia to take control in the European Championship qualifiers


António Silva, Portugal defender:

On switching to a 4-man defence: “We have high-quality players who can play in several systems. The coach decides and we have to adapt to what he asks.”


Diogo Dalot, Portugal full-back:

“We faced tough opponents who pressed us a lot. We could have shown more calmness in moving the ball forward, but the most important thing was the victory and the points to get to the European Championship.

“The 4-man defence? We were very dynamic. Palhinha fits well into a line of three. This creates difficulties for the opponents because we had a lot of players in midfield. In the first half we tried too much to play through the centre, but in the second half we improved.”

“Ronaldo missing in the next game? It’s a big loss. He’ll be supporting us from outside and whoever plays in his place will do their best to help the team.”

By Tom Kundert

Related: Portugal win 1-0 in Slovakia to take control in the European Championship qualifiers