Bento wants aggressive Portugal against Russia

06 June 2013 01:46

Portugal coach Paulo Bento has urged his team to take the initiative and adopt an aggressive approach in Friday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Russia in Lisbon.

Portugal are currently third in Group F, a point behind leaders Russia and having played two games more than Fabio Capello's side.

Their chances of qualifying automatically for the 2014 finals in Brazil are therefore likely to depend on them winning the match at the Estadio da Luz.

"Given the comfortable situation that our opponents find themselves in, we will be obliged to take the initiative and play with greater aggression both going forward and at the back," said Bento at a press conference at the Portuguese squad's training base in Obidos, north of the capital.

"Ideally, our objective was to go to Brazil as group winners, but the scenario is a very complicated one for us now, so we want to make sure we finish second and qualify for the playoffs," added Bento, whose side are level on points with second-placed Israel.

"The press are calling this a decisive match. I say it is an important match with three points at stake."

Bento also declared that Manchester United winger Nani was fit to feature but did not say whether he would start after a season disrupted by injuries.

He also refused to confirm who would fill in for suspended Real Madrid centre-back Pepe. Luis Neto of Zenit St Petersburg, Valencia's Ricardo Costa and Henrique Sereno, who has been on loan at Real Valladolid from Porto, are all in contention to partner Bruno Alves at the back.

Source: AFP