Bruno Fernandes says Portugal did not change their playing style to compensate for Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence against Sweden, but he admits the 3-0 win would have been even easier had “the best in the world” been able to play.
Ronaldo was unable to feature in Wednesday’s Nations League match in Lisbon after he tested positive for Covid-19 and went into isolation.
But Fernando Santos’ men coped well without him, as Bernardo Silva gave them the lead when Diogo Jota found him in a dangerous position.
Jota went on to score two of his own to ensure Portugal remain top of their group, level on points with France.
Fernandes says it felt like business as usual despite not having the Juventus star leading the attack.
“We were not asked to play any differently [without Ronaldo], our ambition remains the same,” the Manchester United midfielder told reporters.
“The team has great values but it is obvious that it is easier to win with the best in the world.”
Jota scored his first goal just before half-time when he brought down a Joao Cancelo cross before smashing past Robin Olsen.
With 18 minutes left on the clock, the 23-year-old tore down the wing and cut inside before sending in his side’s third, and he was proud of himself for playing such a key role for his country.
“It was an excellent night, one of my best performances,” Jota said. “Representing my country for a second time and putting in a performance like this? It was a great result against Sweden and it wasn’t easy. We can be proud.
“Pressure to replace Ronaldo? No, we are professionals and if the coach chooses 11 players to take to the field, those are the ones who have to work.”
Jota joined Liverpool from Wolves last month in a deal worth £41 million ($53m) and has one goal from two Premier League appearances for the reigning champions.
And he is happy that everything is going smoothly for both club and country just now.
“I think [moving to Liverpool] was the highest moment in my career and today I started again in the national team. I have to do my best,” he added.