Pedro Barbosa and Rui Jorge are confident of a Sporting Clube de Portugal success tonight.
By Diogo Teixeira in Lisbon
Sporting Clube de Portugal pair Pedro Barbosa and Rui Jorge believe their side can bounce back from Saturday's Portuguese SuperLiga defeat by Lisbon rivals SL Benfica to emerge victorious in the UEFA Cup final.
José Peseiro's side's hopes of clinching the league title were ended by Benfica's 1-0 victory at the Estádio da Luz, but the Sporting duo expect their team-mates to produce the perfect remedy to any title woe against PFC CSKA Moskva at the Estádio José Alvalade tonight. "I just don’t believe that we won't win the UEFA Cup," said Sporting captain Pedro Barbosa.
"Saturday's match is in the past," continued the 34-year-old midfield player, who said his side are fully concentrated on CSKA. "We are very optimistic and confident, and we know what we have to do in order to lift the trophy."
'Good but not great'
Having already been knocked out of the Portuguese Cup by Benfica and with their title dreams now ended, Pedro Barbosa knows the UEFA Cup is Sporting's last chance of glory this season. "I will not consider the campaign a success if we don't beat CSKA," he said. "We are a good team, but we aren't yet a great team because great teams win things. We want to be a great team and I think we are on the way to that. We want to become part of Sporting history."
The midfield player believes this is the most important match so far of his career, but does not expect any favours from Sporting's opponents. "It will be a very difficult match, but I think we have won the respect of Europe with the games that we have played so far in the UEFA Cup," he said. "We have played 14 good games and are in this final on merit. We have to play our own game, and do everything – everything – to win. We all have that spirit."
Sporting's Rui Jorge is also naturally hoping the Portuguese side can lift the trophy in front of more than 40,000 fans at their home ground. "I don't know what I would feel [if Sporting win] but I confess that I would like to try and see!" the left-back said.
No room for failure
The defender echoed his captain's thoughts that Sporting have recovered from Saturday's disappointment, saying: "This match is similar to the game against Benfica because both are matches that decide titles. This is a cup competition and the other was the SuperLiga, so each is vital. We know that we can't fail, we are preparing exactly the same way and we expect the result to be different."