Coach Luís Castro said today that Vitória de Guimarães are hoping to win Santa Clara on Saturday in a match of the 27th day of the Portuguese First League, to remain well positioned to reach the Europa League.
With eight games to play in the championship, Vimaranenses are in fifth place, the last to qualify for the European competition with 42 points, Moreirense's sixth, and four more than Belenenses, seventh.
The coach admitted that he would like to be more "loose" in the face of "very strong competition" and stressed that his pupils will "do their best" to win in the Azores.
"In this moment of the championship, there is a great motivation of all the teams, because they want the best possible classification, in our case, we still want the Europa League. of victory, "said Luis Castro, in a press conference ahead of the challenge set for the Estádio de São Miguel in Ponta Delgada.
The coach warned that the Azores, ranked eighth, with 32 points, will not "lower their intensity levels" because they are already "rested on the table", having described them as a team that in the last games has lost "offensive power , in terms of realization ", but has become" much more balanced "by improving in defense.
Luís Castro also praised the "competence" of the Santa Clara players and their coach, João Henriques, for having demonstrated that a team that has been promoted to I Liga does not necessarily have to fight to avoid going down the next season.
The coach also said that if all was well, he will have Malik Sacko, Venezuelan Osorio and Ghanaian Wakaso, who failed to prepare for the match after being called up for their national team and revealed that midfielder André André will miss the trip to the Azores due to injury.
Stronger in Guimaraes (27 points) than in the away games (15), Vitoria will return to a stadium where they lost in the three times they played there, but Luís Castro argued that in football, the important thing is the "present" and that all the teams of the championship are stronger in their stronghold.
"Players are more identified with their playing field and more accompanied by their associative mass. The most important aspect of football performance is the psychological one. Players feel more comfortable playing at home, Vitória, who have a fantastic associative mass, always supporting the team, "he explained.
Vitória de Guimarães, fifth in the I Liga, with 42 points, faces Santa Clara, eighth, with 32, in a game that will take place at the Estádio de São Miguel in Ponta Delgada on Saturday at 19:30 local time (20 : 30 in Lisbon).