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Growing concern over Portugal plight for Carvalho

Veteran defender Ricardo Carvalho conceded Portugal are “a little bit more worried” about their Euro 2016 prospects after a second consecutive Group F draw against Austria.

Fernando Santos’ team were dominant for long periods against Austria, with Nani thudding a header against the crossbar during the first half of a 0-0 stalemate at the Parc des Princes.

The second period was a particularly torturous affair for Cristiano Ronaldo as the furious Real Madrid superstar won and missed a penalty before having a header chalked out for offside.

Carvalho performed with his customary composure at the heart of defence as Austria offered little threat after a third-minute headed miss for Martin Harnik, but he urged his team-mates to show further improvement in a must-win encounter against group leaders Hungary.

“We have to get better,” he said. “I believe we played better than in the first game. We are going to grow, we will grow and it’s important to win. 

“We are going to keep going as a team, as we did today – and we have to win.

“We wanted to win. We did more than enough to win the match and we didn’t win, so that’s why we are a little bit more worried – because looking at the match we played, we deserved to win it. Now we are going to think about that match [against Hungary].”

Victory in Lyon on Tuesday would guarantee a place in the knockout stages for Santos’ men but Carvalho refused to look too far ahead.

“In order to win [Euro 2016], the team needs to grow,” he said. “And to grow, it’s necessary to win games. 

“That’s what is missing. If we had done, morale would be higher and confidence would be greater. But after the match we played, I don’t think we need to be so worried. 

“We have to be prepared to win. We depend on ourselves and that’s important.”

The former Chelsea and Madrid centre-back is out of contract at Monaco but will leave any decision on his future until Portugal’s campaign runs its course. 

“I don’t know [if I will return to Portugal],” he added. “In my head is representing my country and I’m not concerned about that [at the moment].

“I think the time to return to Portugal already passed because I’m 38! Even though I feel really good. But in football you never know.

“I still don’t know. It depends on the offers I will have. After the Euros I will meet with the people at Monaco. They have been in touch, I don’t know what they wanted to say. But in terms of playing, I will be available.”

Sat 18 Jun, 2016
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