Ricardo Quaresma knows Portugal must be focused against Armenia on Saturday if they are to avoid an upset in their Euro 2016 qualifier in Yerevan.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s scrappy goal settled a turgid affair 1-0 in Portugal’s favour back in November as Fernando Santos’ side strengthened their challenge for qualification from Group I.
Portugal sit top of the group with nine points from four matches at the halfway stage, while Armenia are bottom – having earned just one point for their efforts thus far.
Coach Santos will serve the last of his two-match ban – reduced from an initial eight games – after unsporting conduct towards a match official when in charge of Greece against Costa Rica at the World Cup last year.
With Denmark and Albania just two points behind, Quaresma is aware that Portugal can ill-afford a slip-up this weekend.
“They are strong, defend well and go out on the break,” he said. “We had many difficulties in the first game, but we’re here to win. We have to be focused.
“It is a difficult time zone, which we are still getting used to. There are over three hours (time difference). I have difficulties, but that’s not what will hamper the game.
“I’m in a good moment, my confidence is up there and I feel good at all levels.
Midfielder Joao Moutinho said: “We all have played a large number of games and fatigue will be accumulated, but we are in check with a great vision to win and take another step towards the European Championship,
“The fatigue is not in our mind, not fatigue or vacation. Our mind is only the victory. Football is rich in surprises, but do not even think about it. We have to demonstrate that on the pitch.”
Veteran defender Ricardo Carvalho, meanwhile, is firmly focused on helping Portugal achieve qualification, although the 37-year-old is unsure whether he will feature at the finals in France next year.
“I do not think about the European Championship,” he said. “I believe in helping Portugal to be in Europe.
“I do not know how I’ll be (playing in France) a year from now. I live in the moment and I hope to get there, but not everything depends on me.”
Saturday’s clash will be Armenia interim head coach Sargis Hovsepyan’s first at the helm.
He will be desperate to end Armenia’s dismal run of form – one draw and seven defeats from their previous eight matches leading to the resignation of Bernard Challandes in March.
Hovsepyan will have to contend without attacking midfielder Yura Movsisyan, who has failed to prove his fitness.
“In the five days of practice we had, Movsisyan showed that it was impossible to recover for the game,” said Hovsepyan.
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