Queiroz gets vote of confidence
© AFP

Portugal manager Carlos Queiroz on Friday received the backing of the country's football chief despite an unimpressive start to qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.

Queiroz left his post as right-hand man to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United to replace Luiz Felipe Scolari as Portugal boss after UEFA EURO 2008.

But under his watch Portugal have struggled in their first steps on the road to South Africa 2010, an initial 4-0 thrashing of minnows Malta being followed by a 3-2 loss to Denmark and goalless draws with Sweden and Albania.

That's left the EURO 2004 finalists, 2006 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists and EURO 2008 quarter-finalists off the pace in Group 1 in third on five points, two adrift of the Danes who have a game in hand, and Hungary.

Yet despite those results Gilberto Madail, president of the Portuguese FA, expressed confidence in Scolari's successor to get the job done.

"Carlos Queiroz' project goes up to 2010," he said in comments carried by local media. "I've told the manager that we've got to lift our heads and go forward to make it to the 2010 World Cup, an objective which is still completely attainable."

Madail said Queiroz should be given time to carry out the work for which he was hired.

"His mission is also to reorganise the youth side, an aspect that he handles well thanks to his experience, so everything doesn't just come down to results alone."

But that said Madail went on to insist: "Our objective will be to win all our (remaining qualifying) matches."

Portugal are next in action against Sweden at home in March 2009.