Fernando Santos insisted he has always rated Portugal as a “great team “after they advanced to the Euro 2016 final amid criticism over their style of play.
Portugal moved a step closer to avenging their defeat in the 2004 final with a 2-0 victory against high-flying Wales in Lyon on Wednesday.
In a match billed Cristiano Ronaldo versus Gareth Bales, the Portugal captain came out on top as he opened the scoring in the 50th minute – equalising Michel Platini’s record of nine goals at European Championships – before Nani sealed the win three minutes later.
Portugal’s win ended a run of five consecutive draws in regulation, which sparked scrutiny among past players and pundits for their “ugly” football throughout the tournament.
But speaking after Portugal’s triumph, Santos said: “I’ve always seen Portugal as a great team.
“Sometimes we played pretty football, other times not as pretty but I think our game against Croatia was amazing – it was very strategic game.
“We’ve been doing what we should do, according to me. We don’t care if it’s pretty or not.
“Today was a prettier game and that’s good for all those watching.”
Awaiting Portugal in the Euro 2016 final will be either hosts France or Germany, with Santos adding: “Sunday will be the highest point my career. Professionally speaking there are lots of there moment but personally it’s my flag, my fatherland. From a personal point of view it’s very important.
“As for the opponents, I’m not even thinking about that yet. Two very strong teams face off tomorrow. I will try and watch the game very attentively. Afterwards will analyse the opposition.
“We are in it to win it and I’ll set up the team with the best possible strategy.”