Portugal coach Fernando Santos insists his team is prepared mentally to deal with heightened security at Euro 2016 and has asked for fans to understand his players will not be as free as usual.
The presence of Cristiano Ronaldo in the squad means Portugal will be one of the most highly guarded teams, as tournament organisers heighten security amid fears the European Championship will be considered a high-profile target for terrorists.
The Portugal boss said that such security would come with inconveniences, but said his team would be prepared to deal with them.
“Portugal is one of the high-risk teams, because we have Cristiano Ronaldo. We are prepared for this,” Santos said.
“We know that around us we will have the French security, which will be alert. And our fans have to understand that too, because sometimes the power to free players isn’t ours, it will be controlled by security, and I ask the fans to understand that.
“But we are not afraid, football has to respond strongly to these issues. But let’s address these issues to who is in charge.”
Speaking after his side’s narrow 1-0 loss to England, in which Portugal played with 10 men for most of the game after a 35th-minute red card for Bruno Alves, Santos said he was pleased with what he saw given the circumstances and the lack of Ronaldo.
“Obviously with Cristiano things would be different, we are talking about the best player in the world, and also for his speed, his athleticism,” he said.
“Cristiano is a very important part in the Portuguese team, and we cannot hide that. But I expected a bit more than we did today in offensive terms.
“We played against a great opponent, a team full of great players, very well organised, like England, with the mission of winning the Euro as well.
“And we lost a player after 35 minutes, worse: a defender! And that dismantled our strategy.
“But England was a fair winner, because they had more possession, was closer to the goal, despite not creating so many great opportunities.”
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