Bernardo Silva believes Portugal have a squad who can make a big impact at Euro 2016 after Fernando Santos’ men secured their ticket to France with one qualifier to spare.
Thursday’s 1-0 win over Denmark, secured through Joao Moutinho’s impressive goal, means they have already sealed top spot in Group I ahead of their final contest at Serbia.
WIth a spot at next year’s tournament now safe, Santos has announced he will be resting Ricardo Carvalho, Tiago and captain Cristiano Ronaldo, while Fabio Coentrao is out injured. Ricardo Pereira and Rui Fonte have been called up to bolster the squad.
Monaco playmaker Silva is one of the players who will need to step up in the absence of some of Portugal’s most senior players and he is optimistic about how the squad have been performing.
“We are delighted to have reached this goal,” he told A Bola. “If I had scored I would be even happier, but important thing was the victory.
“For the Euros let us think game by game. We have a great squad, but we know that there will be other great teams. We will do our best to get as far as possible and that involves trying to play in the final.”
Defender Cedric Soares was also full of optimism after the win over Denmark, which was Portugal’s sixth consecutive win in the campaign.
He said: “It was a happy atmosphere [in the dressing room]. We are all very proud and very happy with this progression.
“We know we have a game in a few days, so there is no time to rest. The coach has a lot of experience, and the team clearly stabilised with him. He is an asset, which the team has shown with the results and style of play.
“We are on song and I hope we can continue to make the beautiful results we have done for Portugal.”
Serbia, meanwhile, are yet to announce the severity of injuries to Chelsea pair Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic after both were substituted with problems during the 2-0 away victory – secured with two stoppage-time goals – over Albania on Thursday.
That was only their second win from seven matches after a turbulent campaign that saw them penalised with a three-point deduction due to serious crowd trouble in the first match against Albania.
The injured Coentrao scored the winner when Portugal beat Serbia 2-1 in the two sides’ meeting in Lisbon back in March.