Ricardo Sa Pinto hits back at Portuguese dailies

The young coach has responded aggressively to stories that he could be sacked soon, after a poor start to his first season as coach of the Verde-e-Brancos
Sporting Lisbon boss Ricardo Sa Pinto has launched an attack against the Portuguese press for what he called "disrespectful" treatment and "lies".

Three sports dailies, A Bola, Record and O Jogo, published stories over the weekend speculating that the 39-year-old was close to losing his job following the side from the capital only managing to win one of their first six matches this season.

In a press conference ahead of Monday’s Primeira Liga match against Gil Vicente, the former international forward hit out at personal attacks against him and accused the press of manipulating the truth.

“Today I had the opportunity to read, among several articles, one that called me ‘an aberration of nature’," the former striker said.

"This is an attack on my dignity. It’s a tremendous lack of respect. It hurts, because my family also read it.

"When criticising my work, we are all speaking the same language, but this is not what has happened. I can accept criticism for my options and my model of playing. Nobody knows everything at every moment.”

The coach, who is in his first full season at the helm, then accused the papers of printing lies and making up false stories about the team in an effort to destabilise the club.

“News was disclosed saying that conflicts had arisen among the players. It’s a lie, there are no conflicts.

"Among the players and the coach there has never been a problem. Among the coaching staff likewise. It’s false. The Sporting directors have not criticised our team model at any time.

“I’m worried because they want to harm Sporting. The squad is outraged, because it feels they are the victims of an enormous injustice.

"But if they mess with Sporting, they have to mess with me. I will defend Sporting to the limit of my energies, but I can’t escape my responsibility at this point," he explained.

Sa Pinto finished by looking toward the upcoming match and explaining how the incident has united the team and made them more focused on getting results on the pitch.

"I don’t want to lose focus on what is truly important: keeping the team united and mentally strong.

“We are united for the game against Gil Vicente. We are aware that we can improve, and the team believes the results will come. I am focused solely on winning this game,” he concluded.