Bento: We'll stick to Portuguese style
© AFP

Paulo Bento said he won't be changing his tactics as his Portugal team take on the Czech Reublic in the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-finals

Czech coach Michal Bilek had already admitted he would be setting his team out more defensively to cope with the attacking threat of Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo. But adapting his team to cater for others is not part of Bento's plan.

"All of us are trying to hide some aspects of our strategy, but one thing that always changes your strategy is a goal," he said. "That always makes a great difference to a game. We have to try, even in adverse moments, to be loyal to our playing style.

"We have to keep cool minds, stay focussed and tomorrow we'll see what our opponents will bring to the table," he went on. "We have to counter their strong points and focus on what we do well, but that's no different to any other game."

Neither team trained on the pitch at the National Stadium on Wednesday due to its poor state, but Portugal played Poland in a friendly there a couple of months ago. However, according to Bento, having previous experience of the ground won't make any difference.

"I don't think that's an advantage, Holland played three times in Kharkiv [and lost all three]. I don't think a game two months ago has any influence, 50 minutes or one hour of training doesn't have any great influence," he insisted.

We have to try, even in adverse moments, to be loyal to our playing style.
Portugal coach Paulo Bento

 

"What does is strategy preparation and we'll have to put that into practice independent of the stadium where we play or train," he added. "We're well prepared, we've got great confidence and great humility which got us here and that's what we must combine with motivation."

One element that doesn't come under strategy is the form of captain and star player Cristiano Ronaldo, who burst into life in Portugal's last group game with a brace to down the Netherlands 2-1. And Bento says with a player like that he simply tries to guide him in the right direction.

"I don't tell him how to play, I just give him instructions. I've heard that it can be very stressful to be talented," he joked. "Of course he's got a lot of talent and I'll just give him the best information and instructions and he'll cope with the task."

Ronaldo may dominate the headlines, but his midfield team-mate Moutinho says it's justified and even believes the 27-year-old is better than FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

"Ronaldo and Messi are the two best players in the world, but I think that Ronaldo is a complete player in all aspects," he said. "Messi is too and they're very different players but I'd prefer to have Ronaldo in my team. It's not true that there's too much talk about the best player in the world, it's very natural to talk about him all the time.

"But he's in our team to help us, all of us are here with same goal, which is to help our team," he went on. "Ronaldo is a leader and still he continues to work for the whole team."

If the Czechs were hoping for any tips from Moutinho on how to stop Ronaldo, they were to be disappointed. "Like I said, he's the complete player and I don't think I could pick out any weak points.

"He's good at heading, he's good with his feet, he's very quick, he's a great player and one who puts all his talent to the benefit of the team," he said. "We're very happy to have him in our squad."