Rio De Janeiro, Jul 29 : Santos head coach Jorge Sampaoli urged his players to remain "alert and focused" after Brazil's eight-time Serie A champions team assumed top spot in the top flight standings on Sunday.
Santos secured their ninth win in 12 matches by overcoming Avai 3-1 at home, a result that saw them overtake defending champions Palmeiras at the head of the table.
"I'm happy that we're now the leaders. The players have worked hard to get to where we are today," former Argentina and Chile boss Sampaoli told reporters. "We still have a lot of things to work on but the idea has remained intact and that makes us happy."
"We are our own biggest rivals now. The mood is high but football can change quickly. We have to be alert and focused. I'm going to push for them to keep improving, to fix certain aspects that need addressing and play with the spirit they showed today: generating scoring chances by attacking and pressing."
Sampaoli, who took charge of Santos in January - six months after parting ways with Argentina's national team - refused to accept that Santos are now the title favorites.
"Let's see what happens. We have reached a point where we have to take things game by game and see if we can maintain top spot. Below us, we have teams that are working really hard to catch us."(XINHUA)