27 June 2022, 16h44
When you arrived in Portugal you said: “if who love football, you love Benfica”. The supporters loved that sentence. Would you like to elaborate it?
It was an answer given to journalists at the airport. What I meant is that there are many football clubs that are different due to their history, tradition, amazing players, titles achieved… I’m German, from a country far from Portugal, but for me Benfica is one of those clubs.
"I'm happy with the attitude shown. We have a lot of quality in the team, a good mentality."
Roger Schmidt, coach of Benfica
Considering the players available, do you think you have the right pieces to play the way you want to play?
I’m looking forward for the upcoming weeks. I know all the players, as well as the young ones who arrive from loans. I’m very excited to see them training and work with them. I'm happy with the attitude shown. We have a lot of quality in the team, a good mentality. The pre-season is very important because we have time to work. I have an idea on the way I want to play, but I’m also open to adjustments.
Javi Garcia is one of your assistant coaches, a former Benfica player. What do you think he can bring to the team?
For me, it’s very important that we can connect my German assistants with Portuguese assistants. We have to prepare the team and support the players together. Javi García was suggested by the Club, he was a great player, and is a great person. He’s very motivated to start. My first impression was top, I’m happy that he joined the coaching team, he can help us with his experience in Portuguese football.
What is your opinion on Weigl? Do you think he fits your system?
He’s an experienced player. I knew him from Bundesliga when I was coaching Bayer Leverkusen and he can be a top player. Now I'm coaching him and I’m looking forward to get more information. At the end, it’s always a decision of the player, if he stays or not. Julian [Weigl] is a great player, a great person and let’s see what happens.
Are you ready to wait for Enzo Fernández?
First things first, we are happy to have him with us. He’s a very talented young player, who showed up at River Plate. The best scenario would be if he comes as soon as possible, but we have to wait for the upcoming matches. I’m looking forward to work with him.
"It’s a new challenge and a new opportunity to improve our performance and play a different football"
What is your opinion on FC Porto, Sporting, and the Portuguese referees?
To be a referee is always a special position in football, but I’ll wait to have my own impression. FC Porto won a lot of points last season and deserved to become champions; Sporting was 2nd. But it’s in the past and we have to look forward. Now there is a new season and a new chance for us to work hard and be ready to fight for titles.
Do you think Benfica starts behind FC Porto and Sporting?
We all start from zero, it’s a new challenge and a new opportunity to improve our performance and play a different football. We want to be more stable in our performances and in getting more points.
Benfica failed to be National Champions in the last years. Do you feel more pressure to win?
The pressure would be the same if they had won in the last three years. It doesn’t matter for me. Our President and our Sports Director believe I’m the right person to coach Benfica. The time is now to show they were right, that they made a good choice. If you join a top club, there is always some pressure. That's the motivation that matters the most and we want the supporters to be happy and proud of the team.
You have a squad with almost 30 players and 7 internationals will be arriving soon. How many players do you want to have in the squad? Is it urgent to make some choices?
No. You can’t have a 40-player squad but that’s why we have a pre-season, to make choices and give young players a chance to work with the first team. We have 25 players by now and it’s a good group to work with. The internationals arrive in a week. It’s fine for now and in the next week we’ll make some adjustments.
Ricardo Horta is very good player, I’m not sure if we're able to get him, but it would be a good improvement for us. Let’s see what happens in the next weeks.
Has it crossed your mind how it would be playing at Estádio da Luz with 65 thousand fans?
I’m looking forward to see a full Stadium, with the crowd behind us. The Benfica supporters are very enthusiastic, we need their support to perform in our best level. They are a great motivation for the players, and I think we can achieve something together. Next Sunday we’ll have the first opportunity to be together, because we’ll have an open training session at Estádio da Luz.
Roger Schmidt: "It was a good start, every win gives confidence"
Roger Schmidt: "The key was the collective play"
Open training session: highlights
Roger Schmidt opened the gates of the training session for the first time since he arrived at Benfica. In front of 23 470 spectators (record in a training session at the Stadium), the team showed the work done in the first week of the pre-season and played a high intensity match. Watch the 9-minute video of the session which took place this Sunday afternoon, July 3, at Luz.
The best images of the open training session at Estádio da Luz!
A sunny Sunday afternoon, July 3, with 23 470 people at Estádio da Luz (record attendance) to watch the first football training session of Benfica since January 1, 2020.
Open training session: massive attendance, mystique and union