Lopetegui: Playing Neves no 'gamble'
By Football News
Porto coach Julen Lopetegui hailed teenage goal-scoring debutant Ruben Neves following Friday's 2-0 Primeira Liga triumph over Maritimo.
Lopetegui's men opened their 2014-15 campaign on a winning note against Maritimo, with Neves and Jackson Martinez on the scoresheet at the Estadio do Dragao.
Neves' 12th-minute goal was of particular significance, having become the youngest player to start a league match for Porto at the age of 17 years, five months and two days.
Lopetegui, who took charge of his first match as coach of Porto, insisted he had no qualms about starting the youngster.
"It wasn't a gamble to launch Ruben," Lopetegui told reporters.
"He's a young player, but he's part of the group and he was ready. He gave a good performance, like the rest of the team."
Lopetegui also paid tribute to the entire team after securing maximum points thanks to star striker Martinez, who netted in stoppage time.
"When we win, we're happy," the Spaniard said. "We had plenty of opportunities to seal the match earlier, but we were facing an organised team that caused us problems.
"The first game is never easy, but I believe we gave the proper response and we got what mattered the most, the victory."