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    Negativity around Portugal is a sign of fans´ heightened expectations, says Fernandes

    Bruno Fernandes said the criticism that followed Portugal’s 2-1 defeat by Croatia at the weekend was a reflection of fans’ elevated expectations ahead of Euro 2024.

    The Selecao das Quinas concluded their preparations for the tournament with a disappointing display in Lisbon, with Luka Modric’s penalty and Ante Budimir’s second-half strike cancelling Diogo Jota’s equaliser, giving the visitors their first win over their opponents in their history.

    Portugal won all 10 of their qualifiers, but prior to travelling to Germany this week, have suffered defeats to Croatia and Slovenia in recent friendlies.

    The 2016 champions have since failed to go beyond the quarter-finals of an international tournament, including at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

    Fernandes says he enjoys the negativity around the national team, but knows the quality of the signs show they have to do more as a collective.

    “I don’t want anyone to think that we came to this point thinking that everything was done and there was nothing to improve,” Fernandes told reporters on Monday.

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    “There are always aspects to improve. To be honest, I like a bit of this negativity around the national team, ‘the team isn’t as good anymore’, ‘it’s still not what we want’.

    “I like it because it’s a sign that people expect a lot from us and want more from the national team. It means that we players who are representing the country have the quality to do more.

    “We know that, we have ambition, and we want to do more and better.”

    Portugal play the Republic of Ireland in their final warm-up match on Tuesday ahead of their Group F opener against the Czech Republic, before taking on Turkiye and Georgia.

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