Switzerland and Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has put the Europa Cup final defeat behind him as he focuses on the European Nations League semi-final Vs hosts Portugal today at the Estadio do Dragao.
“It was very disappointing to lose in Baku but right now I am here and fully focused on helping my country progress and achieve success at this tournament” Xhaka said during the pre-match press conference. “That defeat is now in the past and I can’t dwell on it so I can put in my best here”.
Where Xhaka and Arsenal failed in their European final, his Swiss team mate Xherdan Shaqiri was in the Liverpool Champions League winning team. According to coach Vladmir Petkovic “Shaqiri joining up with the squad has been a big boost to the rest of the players. There is always a feel good factor when a player who has experienced a time as good as he has joins up”
Portugal will be boosted by the home fans and the presence of talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, Xhaka is not overly worried. “We’re here to test ourselves against the best and we’re looking forward not just to Ronaldo but to
the game tomorrow. We’ll certainly try to produce a good performance. We’ve trained hard and
intensively this week”.
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There are many Swiss fans all around the city of Oporto and they certainly will want to make themselves heard by kick-off inside the stadium.
Xhaka and his mates knocked out Belgium on their way to these finals and they aim to be no mugs. “Well, we’d be the first to win the Nations League and would therefore write history. Every title is important for the players and the nation. We’re not too far away from achieving that, we’re in the semi-finals, and when you’ve come so far, you naturally want to take the next step and to reach the final, and after that everything is possible”
Cover Image: UEFA