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Partnership with Portugal´s Pepe progressing, Carvalho

SoccerNews in European Championships 12 Jun 2008

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Chelsea's Portugal centre-back Ricardo Carvalho said Thursday his defensive partnership alongside Real Madrid's Pepe will only improve as the quarter-finalists aim for further Euro 2008 glory.

Carvalho and Pepe were at the heart of the Portuguese defence in Wednesday night's Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired 3-1 win over the Czech Republic in Geneva.

While Barcelona star Deco and Manchester United's Ronaldo were tearing up the Czech defence, Pepe and Carvalho were making life hard for the opponents.

The win puts Portugal in the last eight and Carvalho said his partnership with Pepe is forging into a strong unit.

“Happily, we are starting to show some qualities together, the more games we play, the sharper things become between us,” said the 30-year-old.

“I already knew Pepe was very fast and good in the air, but our communication needed improving and this is happening

“We are developing an understanding.”

And Carvalho said he can see how the confidence is flowing through the Portuguese side whose early tournament form has been impressive alongside the Netherlands, Spain and Germany.

“In the first-half against the Czechs, we did not feel as though we played that well,” he said.

“At the break, we decided we needed to be more patient.

“We feel that we have quality to reach the final, but you can only think in terms of your next game.

Carvalho is set to be coached at Chelsea by Portugal boss Luiz Felipe Scolari after the Brazilian was confirmed late on Wednesday night as the new boss of the Champions League finalists and takes over at Stamford Bridge on July 1.

With a maximum six points from two wins, Scolari has said he may rest some of his stars for Sunday's final group game against Switzerland.

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