United star refuses to comment on speculation; focuses on World Cup issues

Nani and Lahm Portugal Germany

Manchester United’s Nani expressed satisfaction at Portugal’s international friendly win over Mexico and remains focused solely on the World Cup.

Portugal took another step towards kicking off their summer campaign in Brazil with a 1-0 victory over Mexico at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Friday evening.

The Seleccao took to the pitch without ailing veteran stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Raul Meireles, but a late Bruno Alves header was enough to see off El Tri and take a positive result.

While the trio of stalwarts missed out for Paulo Bento’s side, Manchester United wide-man Nani was one of four Portugal players to turn in a 90 minute shift in preparation for their June 16 World Cup curtain-raiser against Germany.

And the 27-year-old conceded that his injured compatriots were missed, but was quick to praise those who took part in the victory.

“You know, they’re very important players for us because they have such a huge impact on the team,” he told reporters after the match.

“But I think all the players who played tonight were amazing, to see the attitude, the football we played.

“It was a great result for us, and gives us good motivation to prepare for the next game and the beginning of the World Cup.”

Portugal had the better of the first half as they regularly threatened Mexico on the counter, but struggled after the break and needed several crucial saves from Eduardo to keep from going behind before snatching the win in second half stoppages.

“I think the first half was a bit more tactical,” Nani said of the shift in the game’s dynamic. “And in the second half we tried to go after a goal and opened up more space for them, so they created more chances.

“But I think we did well. We wanted to win, and in the end we got the goal and the result - that’s the most important thing.”

Portugal will play one final warm-up game against the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday in New Jersey ahead of leaving the United States for Brazil to begin their quest for international football’s ultimate prize.

Nani admitted that he has not studied Group G opponents Germany, Ghana and USA in action so far, but remains wary of the task ahead in a tough opening phase of the World Cup.

“To tell the truth, I haven’t seen any of the games the USA, Germany or Ghana have played, but I know they are very strong teams and of course are preparing well.

“So that’s the way we have to do it too. We have to win our games and prepare ourselves for the first game [against the Germans].”

Asked about his future at the club level with Manchester United, Nani affirmed that his attention is firmly fixed only on matters concerning Portugal for the time being.

He said when quizzed on reported interest in his services: “I’d just like to talk about the national team.”

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