Making the remarks in a pre-match press conference in Abu Dhabi’s Mohammad bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday, he said, “No two games in football are ever the same, in football it is always a different story.”
“The game versus China is a new game, a new adventure, and one in which we can try to do our absolute best. However, what is key is to remember all the lessons we have learned – both when we have won and when we have lost – and put them to good use,” added the Portuguese manager, AFC reported.
“This is just like a cup final as they are games which do not have a history, they do not have a past. You cannot lose a game because of history or statistics. This type of cup final match is very different to those we faced in the group stage and I believe the experience my players have will count for something in the game.”
“We are not favorites as I feel there are never favorites in a game like this. We are proud to be here for a game which is the most important game of our lives because it is the next game, and that is always the most crucial for both players and coaches.”
“It will be a difficult game against a very tough team,” he said.
“China are a solid and well-prepared team with a great coach. We know a difficult task is in front of us, but we are excited and fully prepared. We are confident that we will play well, as we have the ability, our ambitions and our dreams.
“I want my players to keep it simple as football really is a simple game. It is just 90 minutes of 11 versus 11 and the players need to enjoy the match, enjoy the experience. If we are able to play with freedom and joy, I believe we will do well.”
The match will be held on Thursday, January 24, at 8:00 PM local time.