The 2020/21 Liga NOS will kick off. At 7 pm on Friday, September 18, SL Benfica visits FC Famalicão on matchday 1. In the preview of this clash at the Estádio Municipal de Famalicão, the coach Jorge Jesus stressed the quantitative and qualitative objectives.
What Benfica team can we expect at the start of the Championship after the weary game in Greece and a midweek trip?
We will start the Championship in Portugal because in Greece we have already started another competition. After the arrival in Porto, today we made the first training and the team is recovering from the last game so that tomorrow it can arrive in Famalicão and make a good display for longer than we did in Greece. In Greece, we did a very good 45 minutes, another 15 minutes in the second half, and in the last half hour, we lacked some competitiveness. Tomorrow we have one more game, and we can be much better.
On the day of your presentation, you promised that Benfica would crush it. FC Porto is the current champion. Who is the big favorite to win the national title in 2020/21?
The word "crushing" has to do with confidence in the work, in the players I have, and the club where I am. The favorites are always the ones who win. The reigning champion is FC Porto, I as coach of Benfica respect that, but I also want to win the title. Respect has nothing to do with ambition because there is no other story for who is a Benfica player or coach, it is always to win. We will kick off against an opponent who last season was the surprise package of the Championship. We are prepared for another difficult game, but confident that we have the quality to leave their ground with the three points in the first round. To hit the ground running is what matters to us.
You already said here that Famalicão was the last season surprise package. How do you look at this opponent, who finished in sixth place, just one point away from qualifying for the Europa League?
We don't have very deep knowledge, but we know the opponent in terms of the players, the coach, and his game concept. We are sure that we will face an opponent with quality, whose coach has been working with this team for a year. There are no easy games, the Portuguese championship this year will have much more quality. Players are coming with great quality, I am very pleased about that. It is good for Portuguese football, it will be a more competitive championship.
Text: Filipa Fernandes Garcia, João Sanches and Sónia Antunes
Photos: Archive / SL Benfica