Roberto Martinez hailed Cristiano Ronaldo’s experience as the 38-year-old scored twice in a 6-0 win against Luxembourg.
Ronaldo followed up his brace against Liechtenstein on Thursday with another on Sunday at the Stade de Luxembourg as Portugal took two out of two wins to kick off their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.
João Félix, Bernardo Silva, Otavio and Rafael Leão scored other goals and Martinez was quick to praise Ronaldo for his contributions to the Spaniard’s first games as head coach.
“Cristiano has an incredible international experience, probably unique as he is the only player [in the world] with 198 games,” he said at the post-match press conference. “His experience is very important in the locker room.”
Passo a passo, rumo à qualificação! #VesteBandeira
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— Portugal (@selecaoportugal) March 26, 2023
Former Belgium coach Martínez also said he was more pleased with another clean sheet than his team’s attacking performance and praised 19-year-old centre-back Antonio Silva, who replaced Gonzalo Inácio after the Liechtenstein win.
“I appreciate the zero goals against over six goals, the penalties and the great attacking performance we showed here in Luxembourg,” he said. “This game was difficult. What was important in both games was work and consistency.
“It was not just a change of some options. There are many options, it was more of a change due to the physical requirements. It was important to see Gonzalo Inacio play well in the first game. [v Liechtenstein]but it was also important for the young man to rest three days after the game.
“It was important to see Antonio Silva get into a very important position, have the ball and counter Luxembourg’s attack.
“It was nice to see Antonio Silva along with the experience of Rubén Dias and Danilo Pereira. And Rui Patricio was also very good, so the team was very strong defensively in this game.”
Portugal top Group J, two points ahead of Slovakia, and the next round of matches will take place in June when Selekao host Bosnia and Herzegovina.