Santos hails Moutinho impact

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The Portugal boss was delighted with the Monaco playmaker's influential cameo role in the Euro 2016 Group I qualifying win as he scored a late winner in Belgrade

Fernando Santos lauded midfielder Joao Moutinho after he came off the bench to score the winner in Portugal's 2-1 triumph over Serbia.

With the Iberian side already of assured of their place at Euro 2016 following a 1-0 win over Denmark on October 8, the Monaco midfielder was not risked from the start.

Moutinho was introduced in the 70th minute with the game level and the former Porto man curled in a delightful goal to secure a historic seventh consecutive win in European Championships qualifying for Portugal, drawing praise from the coach.

"In the phase when Serbia had us under a lot of pressure, Moutinho came on and brought great perception to the team," Santos said.

"He was not in shape to start the game. He told me he could play 20 to 25 minutes and he came on at the right time."

The victory came a day after Santos' 61st birthday and he described the result from a tough fixture as the perfect present.

"It's always important to finish first and be seeded in the draw for Euro 2016. It was a gift I wanted for my birthday," he added.

"It was a very difficult game. We started the game well, with the team pressing high, quickly stealing possession and creating chances. One of these moments led to the [opening] goal."

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