LISBON - Portugal need to play more as a team when they face Norway in a Euro 2012 qualifier on Tuesday, defender Ricardo Carvalho said after his team suddenly went soft at the back in last week's shock home draw with Cyprus.
With coach Carlos Queiroz missing because of a ban, the usually solid Portuguese defence conceded four goals in 90 minutes, having let in just one in four matches at the World Cup.
"We need to be more compact and to play more as a team to win in Oslo," said Carvalho ahead of the Group H match.
Agostinho Oliveira, standing in as interim coach after Queiroz received a six-month ban for insulting anti-doping agents, found it difficult to explain what had gone wrong in defence against Cyprus.
"There was a lack of competence in a defence which is normally competent," said Oliveria, who is without forward Cristiano Ronaldo because of an ankle injury.
"This defence is solid... I find it hard to understand and accept this result."
Portugal's experienced central defensive pairing was at fault in two goals, Bruno Alves and Ricardo Carvalho looking slow and out of synch.
Miguel lacked pace but is now Portugal's only solution at right-back as Paulo Ferreira has quit the side and Jose Bosingwa is out injured.
Options for left-back are also scant after Fabio Coentrao was ruled out of Tuesday's game with a thigh injury. Braga's Silvio may earn his first cap, though midfielder Miguel Veloso can also fill the post.
Norway, who beat Iceland 2-1 on Friday, will have John Carew back after a knee injury but coach Egil Olsen left it unclear whether the striker would partner Mohammed Abdealloue in the starting line-up.
Abdealloue scored the winner against Iceland and his pacy style could fit Olsen's strategy perfectly.
"The draw with Cyprus tells us the Portuguese team does not know how to deal with counter attacks, and that can be good for us," Norway coach Egil Olsen said.
Portugal: Eduardo; Miguel, Bruno Alves, Ricardo Carvalho, Silvio; Raul Meireles, Joao Moutinho, Tiago; Ricardo Quaresma, Liedson, Nani
Norway: Jon Knudsen; Tom Hogli, Kjetil Waehler, Brede Hangeland, John Arne Riise; Henning Hauger, Christian Grindheim, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Steffen Iversen; Erik Huseklepp, John Carew or Mohammed Abdellaoue.comments