Simao Sabrosa insists Portugal cannot use the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo for failing against Bosnia-Herzegovina in their World Cup play-off.
Portugal face Bosnia-Herzegovina in the first leg of their play-off this weekend without star man Ronaldo because of injury.
The Real Madrid attacker will miss both games because of an ankle problem, but Simao has called on the side to show they can cope without Ronaldo.
"We know Ronaldo is an important player, but the most important thing here is the group," said Simao.
"It would have been important to have him, but we have top-quality players who will do their best.
"Cristiano's absence cannot serve as an excuse."
Atletico Madrid ace Simao is confident Portugal can see off Bosnia to book their place in next summer's finals in what he describes as the biggest matches of their careers.
"The tie will be complicated. Bosnia has great technical quality, but we had time to prepare for the game. We know what we have to do to win.
"It's the most important game in our careers. We will be at our best level.
"The perfect Saturday would be a win for Portugal without conceding goals."
Portugal are favourites to progress, but coach Carlos Queiroz believes the tie is delicately balanced.
"It will not be an easy game, but it won't be calm for Bosnia either," said Queiroz.
"Both teams have possibilities, neither side is favourite. Details and concentration will make the difference."