Portugal boss Santos says Spain off-field chaos won't affect Friday's match

Source: Xinhua| 2018-06-14 23:12:38|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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SOCHI, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Portugal coach Fernando Santos said on Thursday that events in the Spain squad will little effect when the two teams begin their World Cup campaign in the Fischt Stadium in Sochi on Friday night.

The European champions will play the Spanish less that 48 hours after Spain sacked Julen Lopetegui as first team coach on Wednesday at lunchtime and replaced him with Fernando Hierro. But speaking in his pre-game press conference, Santos explained he didn't expect any changes in style.

"Spain has played the same way for 10 years, I don't think there will be any surprises, what is important is the players.

"Tomorrow is the opening game for two great sides with great players, we will have Fernando Hierro against us, I wish him luck, but not too much against us. It is a game between two great sides, who both think they can win," commented the Portuguese coach who didn't give much importance to the fact that Portugal have not beaten their rivals since 2008.

"History is history and the present is now," said Santos.

Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho agreed that what had happened to Spain wouldn't change Friday's result.

"I don't think it will have a negative effect, Spain have prepared well and have been working for a few weeks, so it won't really alter what they have been doing in preparation and qualifying games. We expect to face a strong side and a united one," he said.

Moutinho also brushed aside suggestions that unrest at Sporting Lisbon, where several players have asked for their contracts to be rescinded, will affect his own companions.

"This isn't going to influence at all, we are all focused and we all want to start well. We are focused and united and we are not thinking about anything else; we know the responsibly we are facing, and what we have to do on the pitch," he commented.