Santos bristles when quizzed on Portugal's style

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Fernando Santos again brushed off questions over Portugal's style of play and claimed his team's presence at the Confederations Cup was proof that the end sometimes justifies the means.

Portugal's run to Euro 2016 glory in France was achieved despite a largely defensive mindset and criticism has continued to follow Santos' team ever since.

Quizzed on the issue again in the build-up to his side's game against Russia in Moscow on Wednesday, Santos bristled: "I don't know what the beautiful game means or not means.

"I know what is beautiful for me and what's ugly. Everyone will have different interpretations on that.

"The important thing is to win. To play the beautiful game and not be European champions does not interest me. If it did, we wouldn't be here.

"We play every game with the objective of winning. In the last 21 official games we have lost once. That in itself justifies the quality of my team and my players."

Russia impressed in beating New Zealand 2-0 on Saturday but Santos backed his players to overcome their latest challenge.

"Every game is a difficult game but I expect our players to bring home the bacon at the right time," he added.

"Most of these players here were part of the most brilliant victory in Portuguese history [in France] so I trust them 100 per cent.

"We are playing a team going through a period of renovation, who have been preparing for this tournament for a year and are improving steadily. They are playing better together and all the players have high technical qualities.

"They have developed over the past few months but we don't fear any opponents. We respect them and know we are playing a powerful opponent."

Santos was not interested in discussing Cristiano Ronaldo's club future, stating only "all the players are focused on the Russia game, as is Cristiano", but did hint at changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Mexico on Sunday.

He said: "You can't play three games with the same line-up, especially after a long season. We knew that when we came here and we have prepared for that.

"The players don't even know who's playing as we haven't had a training session. Only when I put the team up tomorrow will they know the team."