Portugal coach Paulo Bento staying positive despite Spain defeat

Having seen his side lose on penalties to their Iberian neighbours, their manager has emphasised the good aspects of their performance against the European and world champions
Portugal manager Paulo Bento remained positive despite his side’s 4-2 penalty shoot-out defeat to Spain in their Euro 2012 semi-final, even though his side failed to register a shot on target in the entire game.

The Portuguese had been impressive in their pressing game against their Iberian neighbours, but were unable to produce any goals in normal time and instead were knocked out on spot-kicks.

However, Bento told reporters: "If I had to choose a way of losing I would not choose this way.

"But Spain are a great team and we can leave with our heads held high. All we have to do is continue to fight and work, because we have fallen honourably and proudly.

"It was an extraordinary campaign. From the five matches we played, we lost only the first one, against Germany, then we won three matches in a row and a draw against the European and world champions.

"We had promised a fight in this semi-final and that is what we did."

Bento had nothing negative to say about the Seleccao's performance and reminded how luck was not on the team's side during the tournament.

"I think we played better in regular time than in extra-time, where Spain had more possession of the ball, while we showed some fatigue," the 43-year-old said. "In the shoot-out, Spain were happier.

"In this competition, we sent six shots against the woodwork, and our last penalty hit the bar. Without taking merit from Spain, luck has an influence, and this is something we did not have in this competition."

Bento now has the unwanted record of being the first Portuguese coach to preside over a defeat in a shoot-out, with Bruno Alves and Joao Moutinho missing their kicks for Portugal.

Joao Pereira echoed the coach's sentiments and stated that Portugal were misfortunate against Spain, saying: "We are sad and disappointed. It was a unique opportunity. The penalties are a lottery.

"Unfortunately, luck was not on our side. We lost against a great team, this must be said.

"When many did not expect, we were able to reach this stage, and much of that is owed to the support of the fans."