Portugal's Santos berates Quaresma, won't discuss Ronaldo
By Matt Smith
PARIS (Reuters) - Portugal coach Fernando Santos hauled off Ricardo Quaresma after the winger failed to follow his tactical instructions as they struggled to make their domination count in a 0-0 draw with Austria at Euro 2016 on Saturday.
Portugal had 23 goal attempts to Austria’s three at the Parc des Princes, but could not find a breakthrough. Captain Cristiano Ronaldo’s 79th minute penalty struck the post, while Nani’s first-half header also hit the woodwork.
Santos declined to discuss Ronaldo’s performance, saying he did not comment on individual players, but then went on to criticise Quaresma, 32, who was drafted into the lineup after impressing as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with Iceland.
“Quaresma was okay but he was too close to the sideline,” Santos said of the winger who he replaced after 71 minutes with Joao Mario.
Quaresma’s renaissance at Turkish club Besiktas earned him a place in Portugal’s squad and he began the match on the right of a narrow front three alongside Ronaldo and Nani before drifting wide to be more of conventional winger.
“At that time I thought we needed to bring the game more into the centre,” said Santos after Portugal failed to score for the first time in a competitive fixture under his tenure.
“Andre Gomes on the other side was doing it properly, giving space for (left back) Raphael Guerreiro to run along the line. Quaresma started being a little slower.”
Portugal will go into Wednesday’s final group game two points adrift of opponents Hungary, who are on four points after snatching a late equaliser against Iceland earlier on Saturday.
Victory would guarantee Portugal a place in the last 16 and Santos described the Hungary match as being like a final.
“We’re going through a time right now. We can’t wallow in our misery,” added Santos, whose team won seven successive qualifying matches by a single goal to reach the finals.
“We’re going to focus, to concentrate and we have to accentuate the positive and put it all on the pitch in the next tie.”
Austria are without a goal in Group F and have one point but could still qualify if they beat Iceland, who have two points.
(Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by Ken Ferris)