Cédric targets more progress after memorable summer
It has been quite a year for Portuguese international Cédric since his move to Southampton in the summer of 2015.
The right-back, who had just made his breakthrough into the Portugal national team following a string of impressive performances for Sporting before moving to St Mary’s, has now developed into a permanent fixture for club and country.
That wasn’t the case ahead of this summer’s European Championships, as Cédric competed for a first-team spot at Saints with Cuco Martina, and was named on the bench during the group stages for Portugal in France.
But, along with fellow Saints defender José Fonte, Cédric’s tournament took a turn for the better at the knockout stages of the competition, as Fernando Santos brought him into the team for the game against Croatia.
The rest, as they say, is history. Fonte and Cédric played a key role in helping Portugal win their first ever major tournament and, perhaps understandably, the right-back still has fantastic memories of that win against France.
“It was a fantastic day for me, my family and all of the Portuguese people,” Cédric said. “It was a moment that I will never forget.
“The feeling that you had the job done. Life is about enjoying these kind of moments. I am very proud of all of the team and all of the staff for what we achieved.
“If you see the final, you can see that Portugal were more as a team, whereas France were maybe individuals more.”
The 25 year-old made 27 appearances in all competitions during his first season in England, and he believes a positive season with Saints was crucial to him being in a position to represent Portugal in France.
“When I came back to the national team, I was much more competitive because of Southampton,” he added. “I worked harder during all the weeks here.
“I had some tough moments and that made me a better player. I definitely grew as a player with Southampton. You always need to work hard and the results will come.”
From the day he made the move to St Mary’s, Cédric said Fonte had played a big part. But he admits he always helped him through those difficult times over the course of the season.
“José was important in all the steps. When I came to England he was very helpful in pushing me and helping me to improve,” Cédric revealed.
“Also we have the same thoughts on the way we defend and attack. I understand him on the pitch and we have a good partnership.”
That was proven in France. Portugal conceded just one goal in the four games in which Cédric and Fonte played alongside one another on their way to lifting the trophy.
With that success in mind, it’s no surprise that Cédric is targeting more success on a club level this season. “When you know what winning is, you don’t want to lose,” he affirmed.
“You feel so much support from everyone. Losing is not good at all, it is a really bad feeling. The week after a loss is always tough.
“I think our mentality here in Southampton is a winning one. You have to do everything you can to win. You have to fight as one.
“We have just one goal and that’s to win, no matter how.”