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Bruno Fernandes: Friendly defeat can help Portugal beat Slovenia in Euro 2024 clash

Portugal's star midfielder, Bruno Fernandes, is set to make his return in the Euro 2024 last-16 match against Slovenia, following a brief rest during the final group stage game.

This match, to be played in Frankfurt, will mark Fernandes' 61st appearance for club and country since the beginning of the last Premier League season.

Despite the demanding schedule, the Manchester United captain dismissed any concerns about burnout, stating that frequent play keeps him in rhythm and enhances his performance.

"I enjoy the constant competition. Sometimes I'll ask the technical staff how to find the right balance and be at my best," said Fernandes.

"But I like to compete, and if I play a competitive game every three days I feel I am more prepared mentally and physically for the hardships of every game.

"Also my love for this beautiful game helps me always be ready to play for my national team or club."

Slovenia have been impressive in the tournament, reaching the knockout stages for the first time in their history and currently boasting a nine-game unbeaten streak.

This remarkable run includes a significant 2-0 victory over Portugal in a friendly held in Ljubljana this March.

Fernandes believes this previous encounter has provided Portugal with valuable insight into Slovenia's tactics and strengths, making them better prepared for the upcoming match.

Reflecting on Slovenia's achievements, Fernandes acknowledges the team's impressive journey and resilience. However, he remains confident that Portugal, armed with the knowledge from their earlier encounter, will be ready to face Slovenia's challenge head-on.

"This team has very high quality players, and we respect them," said Fernandes. "We had this friendly where they beat us, and this has to put us on our toes.

"We have an idea of what we can do. I didn't play in the friendly but I have watched the game, and we have spoken about the game in recent days.

"It's good for us to have the images from that game. They had a great game, but we've had a chance to see what we can do differently to hurt them."

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