Champions League: Nani 'home' at Sporting Lisbon, says coach Marco Silva

Sporting Lisbon's Nani
Image: Nani: Back at Sporting Lisbon on loan

Sporting Lisbon coach Marco Silva says Nani "came home" when he returned to the club on loan from Manchester United.

The Portugal international is in line to play against Chelsea in the Champions League Group G clash at the Estadio Jose Alvalade on Tuesday night.

Nani, now 27, moved to United from Sporting for a fee of around £25.5million in June 2007 but gradually faded out of the first-team picture before his loan return to Lisbon was announced in mid-August.

"He came home," Sporting boss Silva said.

"Sporting was his previous club. He knows his team-mates. This is the best choice he could've made."

Marco Silva, coach of Sporting Lisbon and Adrien Silva talk to the media during a press conference ahead of the Champions League visit of Chelsea
Image: Marco Silva and Adrien Silva: Sporting coach and midfielder

Asked about needing to rebuild Nani's shattered confidence, Silva said: "The confidence of the team is growing collectively. That is what we must focus on."

Sporting drew at Maribor in their first pool game, denied a win which would have seen them take top spot in the standings by a last-gasp equaliser.

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Jose Mourinho's Chelsea are favourites to advance at the top of the group, despite opening with a 1-1 draw against German side Schalke, but Silva hopes his side can upset the Blues.

"They're a great challenge, but with the right attitude and the right commitment we'll be able to overcome the obstacles and maybe even gain some points," he added.

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The Sporting coach is relishing tangling with Mourinho, who is a reference point to many young coaches in Portugal, and does not believe his compatriot's kind words about his hosts were part of a psychological game.

Silva added: "That will have no influence on the match. Ultimately who will decide the destiny of this game are the players on the pitch.

"He referred to our ambition, our style. I'm happy with that. Compliments are always good coming from Jose Mourinho.

"It's a great challenge for a trainer, but most importantly it's a great challenge for the team."

Mourinho, who worked at Sporting as assistant to coach Sir Bobby Robson for one and a half seasons between 1992 and 1993, is out to end Sporting's 16-match unbeaten run at home in Europe.

Adrien Silva, who trained with Chelsea earlier in his career, although a transfer did not materialise, insisted Sporting would not compromise on their free-flowing approach.

The midfielder said: "We are not going to change in spite of the quality of the opposition.

"What we have to do is enjoy the moment, give our best and expect the best."

On his potential move to Chelsea 10 years ago, the 25-year-old said: "Life is made up of possibilities. I have no regrets. It was the right decision to stay at this club and achieve what I have achieved."

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