Bento urges focus; injury doubt duo
Portugal coach Paulo Bento has urged his players to recover quickly from the 4-0 mauling at the hands of Germany.
Portugal went 2-0 down after a penalty from Thomas Muller and header from Mats Hummels, then Pepe was sent off for a headbutt on Muller before the Bayern midfielder added two more goals to complete his hat trick.
Bento's side offered little threat in attack with Cristiano Ronaldo limited to only a few chances and Hugo Almeida taken off with an injury after 27 minutes. Then the side's defensive issues were made worse by what seemed to be a hamstring injury to left-back Fabio Coentrao.
"We have to make changes of course. We're talking about two injuries, one player being sent off. But in terms of reformulating everything, in my opinion, this would be the biggest mistake we could make," said Bento in his postmatch news conference.
"We have two games ahead of us, one of them will occur on the 22nd (against the USA; the other against Ghana on the 26th) and we continue to depend on ourselves. We are not satisfied. This is a difficult moment because starting a tournament with this result is a complicated thing. This is the moment where we'll see who we are. It's in the face of these challenges that we'll have to share our capacity to fight for our goals. I'm perfectly sure and convinced that this is what we're going to do."
While Ronaldo seemed to come through the match well, Coentrao and Almeida's future in Brazil looks less certain as they both went off with a muscle strain.
"It's a muscle lesion. The physician will have to assess him," said Bento of Coentrao. "The prospects right now are not very encouraging. It's up to us to try to come up with a solution. We have to fight for our objectives and fight for our goals.
"The expectations for the injuries are not the best ones. It's two situations that have to deal with muscle lesions. They will take their time to heal. We will try to win the next two games so that they can come back to the competition. It's a difficult situation right now and I couldn't tell you how long it will take for them to recover.
"We have to recover the players from the physical and psychological point of view. This is a difficult moment and we cannot hide it. The players will be under a lot of pressure for the next game, but it will not be the first time."
Physically, at least Cristiano Ronaldo offered some good news for the Portuguese, with Bento adding: "He has played the entire game and is well from a physical perspective."
But with the focus now on a key game with the United States, the coach was keen to ensure his side forget about the defeat and do everything they can to get back on track.
"Apart from the injury and some mistakes that were made, the first half of the game, there were some things on the part of referees that were penalising us," he said.
"I never said that it was the referees' fault only; we also made mistakes. We showed a lack of efficacy in the first part of the game. We have to assess what we did and react in the best possible way against the United States."