Paris: Ahead of the much-anticipated Euro 2016 final clash against hosts France, Portugal coach Fernando Santos has hit back at the critics and said that he would like to win the championship without deserving it.
The Cristiano Ronaldo-led side received a flurry of criticism for their defensive game plan after they progressed through from the game stage with three draws and did not claim victory in the full quota of 90 minutes until their sixth match.
“I want them to keep saying the same thing. That we’re this and we’re that, that we won undeservedly,” Santos was quoted as saying by goal.com.
Asking critics to pounce again, Santos said that he would be happy to hear the criticism if his team heads home on a winning note.
“That’s what I would like them to say – that we won and we didn’t deserve it. That would be amazing. I’d be going home very happy if they said that. And I will be going home very happy,” he added.
The 61-year-old insisted he always believed that Portugal would win the tournament and that he would stick to this despite knowing that France are the favourites.
“I said at the time of the draw that Portugal would possibly get to the final and win it, we were a candidate,” he said. “I always said there were three favourites – the title holders [Spain], the word champions [Germany] and France because they are playing at home,” the Portugal coach said.
Portugal will try to erase the harsh memories of the Euro 2004 final defeat to Greece, which left skipper Ronaldo crying on the pitch.
The Real Madrid striker now has the best chance of winning the first international title of his glittering career.