Football

22 February 2022, 15h09

PREVIEW

Nélson Veríssimo previewed the Benfica-Ajax match from first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League, a match scheduled for 20:00 on Wednesday, February 23, at Estádio da Luz, making it clear that his team "will give a good response" to the opponent's power. The coach, in the statements that preceded the press conference, at Benfica Campus, and during it, stressed the need for his team to be "consistent and solid". 

It is your debut as head coach in the Champions League, how does it feel? Does a good result against Ajax carry greater weight considering the last results?

It will be a debut as head coach in the Champions League, in an important game and competition. It will be a different game and the main thing is that it is an important match for the team. There is no greater motivation than that, to participate in a match of this magnitude. Ajax is one of the best teams in Europe today, they don't concede many goals and score many. There are strengths in the Ajax team, but also weaknesses that we can exploit. It will be difficult! We are very motivated for the game, it will be a good test for us.

Nelson Verissimo

"There is no greater motivation than that, to participate in a match of this magnitude. It will be difficult and a good test for us"

Nélson Veríssimo 

Emotionally and physically, is Benfica a team capable of tackling Ajax in the Champions League?

Yes, of course it is. The emotional issue has to do with the results, physically it's a question that we don't understand why it's being asked. In some matches we haven't been able to dominate, but the question is not physical, but about managing the moments of the game and stealing the initiative from the opponent having ball possession. That's one of the issues that has to be improved. The match against Ajax has completely different characteristics, what will come into play is the competence, the quality of our team, our players, and the way they have prepared. We have to hold on to that.

Nelson Verissimo  

A good result in the 1st leg, approximately with 50 thousand fans at Estádio da Luz, can be the revival of Benfica?

It’s important to have a good attendance, it’s an extra support that we are counting on. The team changes when boosted by the fans. A huge game like this, with a positive result, always comforts the team. We believe that we have capacity and quality to cause some problems to Ajax. To win and to reach the next round. The starting point is to recognize the opponent’s quality, then we must break their processes, putting our ideas into practice. We need to believe in the quality of our players and team.

Nelson Verissimo

Text: Rui Miguel Gomes
Photos: Isabel Cutileiro / SL Benfica
Last update: Tuesday, February 22, 2022

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