Salvador: "Let's face this game like it's a final"
EHF / Tiago Nogueira
21 November 2023, 10:00
Sporting CP have only two points in Group H of the EHF European League. After two consecutive defeats, the Portuguese team wants to give a different answer at home against Tatabanya. "Let's face this game like a final. We really want to win after our defeat in Hungary, and we will face the game as a real final for us," Salvador Salvador said.
"We have been preparing well for this match. The game might have a different story. We will learn from our mistakes in Hungary, and the answer must be a victory at home."
By contrast, it is important to highlight that Sporting CP is coming from an incredible run in the Portuguese Championship. On 11 November, they beat their great rival FC Porto by one (26:25) at Dragão, and this last Saturday, Sporting CP defeated SL Benfica by seven (36:29) at Luz in the biggest derby in Portuguese handball. Two crucial victories away from home put the Lions in sole leadership of the Championship.
"Victories are always synonymous with confidence, and these were special. We want to maintain this pace but were below our standards in the last European games, so it motivates us to give more. We must go in with everything against Tatabanya," the team captain highlighted.
When further questioned about the main threat Tatabanya pose, Salvador Salvador stressed that they have "a very aggressive defense that caused a lot of problems." "In attack, they have good shooters and very experienced players. We have to improve what needs improvement, which has already been identified."
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"The coach Ricardo Costa helped me a lot"
Salvador Salvador and Sporting CP are already words that should rhyme. This young athlete has been at the Lisbon club since 2014/15, almost a decade, and feels that the last few years have been good.
"These last two years have been significant for my career. The coach, Ricardo Costa, helped me a lot; I have evolved a lot as a player. Being team captain also helped me grow; these are critical years, and there is still much to improve as a player and captain. But the balance is very positive, and it has been a good journey for me and Sporting CP," he highlighted.
Questioned about Sporting CP's primary goal in this European competition, the 22-year-old athlete emphasised that "this team always wants more and better." "We dream of reaching the EHF European League Finals, but we know it is a difficult path. Let's go game by game. We had two defeats in a row in this competition, and now we must respond well to go to the Main Round. Currently, we can match any team, and this edition has top teams that could be playing in the Champions League. We are improving our image in Europe and aim to play in the EHF European League Finals," Salvador Salvador concluded.
This Tuesday (20:45 CET) Sporting CP and Tatabanya will face each other at João Rocha Pavilion, and almost everything is ready. All that's missing is the referee blowing the whistle and the ball's first bounce.