A lot of ambition, high expectations, Benfica's firm desire to move forward in a competition desired and dreamed by all! This was the motto of the coach Jorge Jesus in the preview of the clash with PAOK, in Greece, in the 3rd qualifying round of the Champions League.
After a pre-season full of matches and wins, what expectations do you have for this first official match and what opponent do you expect to find?
The expectations are the best, it is the Champions, the top competition, everyone dreams about it, and both we and PAOK want to go through to the next stage. Our expectations are the best because we believe a lot in the work we do during the week, we believe a lot in the players individually, and we believe and we are sure that we have everything, regardless of being the first official match, to make an excellent match, which allows us to go through to the next stage, which is our great goal.
Benfica intends to leave a good image in Europe and has also invested to have a quality squad. Does this increase the pressure on the team in this decisive game against PAOK?
No. What increases the pressure is to have a single-legged tie, where we have the responsibility to want to win, because we want to go through to the next stage. When you are at a club like Benfica the pressure is daily and in every game. Everyone has this desire for Benfica to go further in the Champions League than they have in recent years. It is not a dream, it’s a reality. There are conditioning factors. What are they? The opponents. Will we be better? That's what we want to demonstrate tomorrow [Tuesday].
What analysis do you make to the opponent and coach Abel Ferreira?
We have done our homework, that is, to recognize the qualities of our opponent at all moments of the game and we have concluded that it is a good team. As for Abel Ferreira, he is doing an excellent job, he has a very positive game concept, in a difficult system to train [3x4x3]. We have good knowledge of PAOK, just as we believe that PAOK has a deep knowledge of Benfica.
Text: João Sanches and Sónia Antunes
Photos: Isabel Cutileiro / SL Benfica