Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes has stated that Portugal did not change their playing style in order to compensate for the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo against Sweden. The playmaker did, however, admit that Portugal's 3-0 win would have been easier had "the best in the world" been able to play.
Cristiano Ronaldo was unable to feature in Portugal's UEFA Nations League tie against Sweden on Wednesday after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus, forcing him to go into isolation.
The Juventus man earned over 160 caps, including appearing and scoring in ten major tournaments, becoming Portugal's most capped player and their all-time top goalscorer.
Portugal coped well without the services of Cristiano Ronaldo as Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva gave them the lead when Diogo Jota found him in a dangerous position.
Jota went on to score a brace to ensure that Portugal remain at the top of their group, level on points with World Cup winners France.
Bruno Fernandes highlights the importance of Cristiano Ronaldo to the Portugal national side
After the game, Bruno Fernandes stated that the game felt like the usual business despite not having Ronaldo leading the Portgual attack. He told reporters:
"We were not asked to play any differently (without Ronaldo), our ambition remains the same. The team has great values but it is obvious that is it easier to win with the best in the world."
Meanwhile, Diogo Jota, who put in a scintillating performance for Portugal and bagged a brace, said:
"It was an excellent night, one of my best performance. Representing my country for a second time and putting in a performance like this? It was a great result against Sweden and it wasn't easy. We can be proud."
"Pressure to replace Ronaldo? No, we are professionals and if the coach chooses 11 players to take to the field, those are the ones who have to work."
Diogo Jota joined Premier League champions Liverpool from Wolverhampton Wanderers for £45 million this summer. He had come off an impressive 2019-20 season with Wolves, which convinced Liverpool to stump up the cash for the winger.
Jota scored his first Premier League goal for the club in their 3-1 victory over Arsenal at Anfield and is pleased with the way things are going for him at Merseyside. He said:
"I think (moving to Liverpool) was the highest moment in my career and today I started again in the national team. I have to do my best."Published 15 Oct 2020, 13:20 IST