Pepe wants winning ways to continue
Portugal defender Pepe is hoping last week's victory over Denmark will have provided the tonic his side needed to get their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying campaign up and running. An opening draw against Cyprus followed by defeat to Norway had left the Portuguese with much to ponder in Group H, and the dismissal of coach Carlos Queiroz last month hardly helped matters.
But the appointment of Paulo Bento appears to have given Portugal fresh impetus, and a 3-1 victory over the Danes in his first match in charge eased the pressure on the side and lifted them to second in the standings. Bento's men will next travel to foot-of-the-table Iceland and Pepe is keen to see the rebuilding continue as they look to close the five-point gap on group leaders Norway.
"We want to make the Portuguese people believe in us again," the Real Madrid man told fpf.pt. "We did not create the image we wanted to create in the games against Cyprus and Norway, unlike the last contest against Denmark. We now have to carry that spirit and hope into our coming matches."
"We must be prepared for this game," he continued. "We have to give our all to pick up the three points. If we can play at the same level we did on Friday, and show the same spirit and determination, we have the chance to win."
Denmark are also in action tomorrow against Cyprus, and are poised to take second spot from the Portuguese if they slip up in Iceland. Morten Olsen's side lie a point behind Portugal, but have struggled in front of the net and defender Simon Kjaer wants to see the team get back on the scoring trail against the Cypriots.
"It's true we have not scored many goals this year but each match tells its own story," he said. "We will probably face a Cyprus team which is happy to play the waiting game, so an early goal will open up the match. We must make the most of our chances and prevent them scoring on the counter."