Bruno Lage, the Benfica coach, launched, in a press conference, the match from round 6 of the Liga NOS, scheduled for 8:30 pm on Saturday away at Moreirense.
However, the preview of the clash with Moreirense still had many questions about eagles' debut match in the Champions League 2019/20, in what is the 10th time Benfica is present in the group stage of Europe's most important club competition.
On Benfica's return to the championship, what Moreirense do you expect to find in this game in Minho?
Moreirense is a very competitive and organized squad. We have a very difficult match because it is away from and in a pitch smaller than usual, against a team that has had a very interesting record at home, with victories, goals scored and zero conceded. We expect a very competitive match against a Moreirense squad that usually plays in 4x3x3, with very interesting players. As always, we have to be at our best to put in another good performance and get the three points, which is the big goal.
With the squad at your disposal, what can Benfica aim for in Europe?
The Club has a path and a project, and I believe in it a lot! Look at the recent past... With most of these young people we reached two Youth League finals. Where do these indicators lead us? Let's go to a situation 15 years ago... I was here, the Benfica Futebol Campus was been built and what people were saying at the time was "for what?"... "A champion team based on kids? Difficult..." We did it! People have been talking about Benfica's opportunity to become great again in Europe, particularly in the Champions League for many years... We are giving the first steps and we want to achieve that goal. Those who today say that it is not possible are the same ones who 10 years ago said that it was not possible to be a champion having young people in the team.... And in six years, Benfica won five Championship, in addition to reaching two Youth League finals. I believe in this a lot! I want to tell Benfica's members and fans that, against Leipzig, I fielded what I thought was the best team to win. For each scenario, a strategy and players. Why did Cervi play? Of the three players we have for that position, he's the best at pressing. And we had to put a lot of pressure on the match. He played and, according to the Media, he played well, he did what I asked him to do. He came close to scoring and, if he had scored, he would be the match hero. Those are our options. There's the Club project, there's the path and there is confidence in these young players, where I also include Chiquinho and Gabriel. I really believe (because I believed last season that we were going to be champions and we were) that we're going to do a competition that will match Benfica's greatness , with these players and with this mentality.
Text: João Sanches
Pics: Cátia Luís / SL Benfica