Bruno Lage spoke to the press ahead of the team’s trip to Minho to take on SC Braga Sunday night at 17:30 (Sport TV 1, RTPi).
Benfica Nation is excited over Porto’s slip up at Rio Ave and that has opened the opportunity to jump ahead by two points, if they win in the Pedreira.
The team left the Luz for the long trip up north with a large group of excited supporters sending them away with the traditional flares and shouts of support.
Lage was quick to temper expectations and keep the focus on getting the three points.
In SC Braga, manager Abel Ferreira spoke about his team’s need to fix their image after the ugly 6-2 loss earlier this season in Luz right before the New Year Holiday.
At this moment, we are in second place. Our intention, regardless of the result of our rival, is to win. These matches are each finals and that is how we have to treat this next match.
To be honest, we did not even mention it (Porto’s draw). I felt the same joy and determination as always in preparing the match in the best way. What is certain is that Porto are leading by a point and we have to do our work.
Is FC Porto’s draw a warning for Benfica? Both managers have said this (that all matches are difficult) for about two months now. What happened yesterday to Porto has already happened to us. We were winning 2-0 to Belenenses and they suddenly score two goals. It’s football … I have said this in a joking way, it is a lot of work and it is very difficult to win matches, particularly this next one against Braga.
We had more time to look at this team that was for some time involved in the title fight. They play lively, dynamic football, and are a very strong team under the guidance of Abel, who has done a fantastic job this year. We played a similar style to them when I was on the B team.
Benfica are a very versatile team, playing in-and-out, short-and-long, dynamic and irreverent, and they are in the title hunt. We have to be a daring team when we get the ball and realize our opponent’s strengths. We need these three points for our ongoing battle for third place.
We will continue to play hard because this team has a strong mentality and does not surrender, because they want to overcome difficulties and grow. Fourth place is already set by us and we want to play for third place until the very end and to do that we have to win on Sunday. I hope it will be a great spectacle.”
“We know we didn’t have a great match (6-2 loss 1st leg in Luz), but we know every match has a different story.”
Benfica Call Ups
GK: Svilar, Vlachodimos
D: André Almeida, Ferro, Rúben Dias, Jardel, Grimaldo
M: Pizzi, Franco Cervi, Gedson Fernandes, Florentino, Taarabt, Salvio, Samaris, Rafa
F: Seferovic, João Félix, Jonas, Jota
SC Braga Call Ups
GK: Matheus, Tiago Sá
D: Goiano, Ricardo Esgaio, Bruno Viana, Pablo
M: Palhinha, Xadas, Ryller, João Novais, Claudemir, Fransérgio, Ricardo Horta
F: Wilson Eduardo, Trincão, Murilo, Paulinho, Dyego