After helping to secure his side's second straight Andorran Premier Division title on Sunday, FC Lusitans coach Carlos Sánchez explained that a "combination of strength, fighting spirit and commitment" were integral to their success.
Formed by Portuguese expats in 1999, Lusitans won their first top-flight championship last season before going on to compete in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round, where they lost out to Malta's Valletta FC. The newly crowned champions will represent the principality in Europe's elite club competition once more this summer after yesterday's 4-2 victory at UE Sant Julià sealed the title with two games to spare.
"When I came here, the players weren't in good shape physically or mentally," said Sánchez, who took the place of Salvador Estruch during the winter. "We therefore looked to put in more work on the training pitch and really tried to motivate the group. The board of directors were very clear that they wanted to win the league, which we've achieved. The players put in a great effort.
"The combination of effort, fighting spirit and, above all, commitment that every player has shown has been fundamental," the coach added. His charges have won three of their four title play-off games to date, making them champions with two matches still to play.
Midfielder Angel Zarioh said the ease with which Lusitans's 2012 summer signings had adapted to the club was another key to victory. "It was vital that all seven new players blended in from the very beginning," he said. "And although we were in first place at the time, the change of coach [to Sánchez] was also hugely important because there were things missing from the group. I'd also say our second title was the result of the day-to-day work we put in."
Team-mate Leonel Maciel agreed. "Keeping the spirit within the group from last year [was important] as was the incorporation of the new signings who have helped us play well week in, week out," he said. The champions' next challenge comes in the form of an Andorran Cup quarter-final against FC Ordino on 28 April and 5 May.
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