Negredo stunned by starting role
The 26-year-old had previously come on as a substitute against Croatia while Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres were preferred upfront.
"To know that I was starting took me by surprise, it took a while to sink in because I knew it was a unique moment and I had to do my best,” Negredo told Goal.com.
“I tried to respond to my coach's confidence and do a job that maybe wasn't very flashy but very important instead; the dirty work of a physical fight with the Portuguese defenders to wear them out.
“It's hard to face physical players like Pepe or Bruno Alves."
Negredo admits that Portugal did not allow them to play their normal game, but says he is pleased that they still managed to make it through to the final via penalties.
"It was a very ugly game, in the sense that there were many aerial balls, lots of clashes, tackles,” said Negredo.
“I had to fight for every inch to wear the opposition out and make way for other players who could give other abilities to the team which were important later on.
"I am very happy as we finally got what we wanted, this was a great result in a very tough match and we should be proud of it even if it wasn't truly achieved in style.”