The Portugal coach, Fernando Santos, was satisfied this Tuesday with his team’s qualification for the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Qatar, after the win (6-1) against Switzerland, at the same time that he justified the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting eleven as a matter of strategy and stressed that he continues to be a “very important” player for the team.

“I have a very close relationship with him, I trained him at Sporting when he was 19 years old and we always had a very strong relationship. This relationship does not change. Neither he nor I confuse the human issue with the issue of coach and player. In my perspective , Cristiano continues to be a very important player for the Portuguese team”, stressed the coach after the game.

The coach wanted to settle the matter and highlighted the figure of the five-time Ballon d’Or in the dressing room. “The matter is resolved and they should look at the example of this extraordinary player, for me the best in the world. How he celebrated the goals, how he entered, with enormous will. We just have to praise the spirit of this team in the collective. If we continue like this and we managed to improve some things, we are on the right track”, he stated.

In addition, the coach praised the game of his team and wanted to reduce the euphoria after the game. “What we want is fluidity in this team. This game went very well, the team played very well, with movement, possession and confidence. They are very united and today it worked very well. Sometimes they want to and things don’t go so well. But the most important thing is to lower this a bit, because playing with Morocco is not easy,” he acknowledged.

“I understand that people are happy, but what I have just told the players is that we have three games left and the next one is in four days, with Morocco, who just beat one of the main favourites, Spain. We are going to having to take a good look at the opponent and make the decisions that we believe are the best in strategic terms, that was what led to this change — Ronaldo’s departure — for this game,” he concluded.