Sporting coach goes on the defensive

Sporting Lisbon coach Carlos Carvalhal was forced on to the defensive ahead of the Europa League match against Everton on Thursday.

Last Updated: 25/02/10 at 09:59

Carvalhal: Under big pressure

Carvalhal: Under big pressure

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Carvalhal is hoping his side can overturn a 2-1 deficit and progress to the last 16 as a string of indifferent results has put him under pressure.

The 45-year-old was handed a temporary contract until the end of the season after taking over in November when he replaced Paulo Bento who had been at the club since 2005.

Asked if he would considering resigning if Sporting lost, he said: "I am not expecting you to give me flowers.

"Our expectation is success, that has not changed, and our intention is to win this tie.

"This is just another game as far as I am concerned. We want to progress in this competition.

"I am very happy to coach Sporting. I have courage and so have my team. We must not lose our identity."

Former Rangers midfielder Pedro Mendes could play a crucial role after arriving last month.

The 30-year-old feels he is getting back to his best form and is ready to face Everton who will be no strangers to the Portuguese who spent four years in English football.

Mendes said: "Of course the football in Scotland and Portugal is a bit different. Here it is more technical.

"But that was not my main concern when I arrived. My biggest struggle was my fitness.

"I am getting there and enjoying being with a new team and in a new environment.

"This game is an important one for all the players. It is a night to give something back to the supporters."

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