″This is not yet closed.″ Schmidt’s warning to face Dynamo Kiev

“This is not closed yet.” That is how Roger Schmidt, coach of Benfica, approached Tuesday’s game (8 p.m., TVI and Eleven), in Estádio da Luz, against Dynamo Kiev, in the second leg of the Champions League play-off. The 2-0 lead does not calm the German coach, who warns that ahead is “a very good team” that “had its moments” in the first leg in Poland and that “caused problems” for the red defence. In this sense, he says that the Ukrainians “will adapt their tactical behavior” to the circumstances of the result, so he believes there is only one way: “It is very important that we show from the beginning of the game that the draw is not yet closed and we want to take advantage of home advantage.”

Roger Schmidt will not let his guard down, warning that Benfica “wants to show that they deserve to play in the Champions League and that they are a good enough team to do so”. “We are prepared, but we have to show it from the start, after all it all depends on us,” he stressed, ensuring that the players are “motivated and focused”, stressing that “it was very good” to be able to to rest over the weekend and take a week-long break between two games for the first time this season. This is because Benfica has postponed the third round of the I Liga, with Paços de Ferreira, in order to prepare the decisive game for entry to the group stage of the Champions League. “Until now we had played three away games in eight days, with long journeys and it was not easy to recover, but now it is perfect. Having the opportunity to rest a little longer and prepare for the second game is a good advantage and we took advantage of that,” he explained.

In this sense, the Benfica coach ruled out the possibility of making changes to the lineup that has become common. “It’s not the time to make changes because we want other players to play,” he warned. “What we want is a focused team and for that we need the best team on the pitch and the best substitutes on the bench to be able to influence the game,” he added, without announcing the team he will present. he will “play with the best eleven as always”. On issues related to team rotation, he left a clue: “In the coming months we will need the whole squad, but at the moment it is useful to have players on the pitch who are used to playing together.”

When asked about Benfica’s potential in the Champions League group stage, Schmidt didn’t hesitate for a moment. “First of all, we have to qualify and for that we have to play an excellent game with Dynamo. Then it is always a big challenge to be among the first teams. We will see if we qualify and how the draw goes, but I prefer to focus on step by step,” he underlined.

Reinforcements to balance the squad

With just over a week to go until the transfer window closes, Roger Schmidt admitted Benfica is still looking for a balance in the squad. “We have a very good team, but we are going to play 50 or 60 games this season and that requires a balanced squad,” he assumed, adding that “to fight for titles and achieve something in the international competitions” you need “a good and balanced team”. In that sense, he assumes that he already has a “very good” squad, but “some adjustments are needed”. “We always have to analyze whether there are options in the market to improve the squad,” he emphasized.

And one of the most talked about names to bolster Benfica is Ricardo Horta, whose negotiation process seems complicated, given Sp. Braga and the Spaniards from Malaga, who hold part of the pass. Schmidt again admitted that he is “an excellent player”, but declined to comment further on his assessments. “Let’s see what happens. We are very close to closing the transfer window, we are working to improve the team globally and we will see what we can do,” he said, guaranteeing that this work is “behind the scenes” and that he is “just thinking about the “very important matches” he has to prepare.

The Benfica coach also refused to confirm the signing of Norwegian midfielder Fredrik Aursnes from Feyenoord, for a fee of around 15 million euros (the Dutch coach has already announced that the player will go to Luz). “I can’t talk about players who aren’t on our team, after all, it’s not my job to announce transfers. I can talk about new players when they’re announced, but for now I’m focusing on the ones I have.” he concluded.

Selection does not press Neres

One of Benfica’s figures at the start of the season was winger David Neres, who said he expected “a very difficult game, like the first” against Dynamo Kyiv, but he was in tune with the coach: “The goal is to play right from the start and get a good result.”

In the stands of Luz are the assistants of Tite, the Brazilian coach, allowing a good performance by Neres to open the doors of the national team again. “My focus is to help the team reach the Champions League group stage, what comes next is a result of the good work,” emphasized the winger who played on the right wing with compatriot Gilberto, a partnership he says is the key. good is. “very good”. “Understanding is easy when the other player has a lot of quality,” he said.

On being out of competition for more than six months due to the war in Ukraine, which prevented him from playing for Shakhtar Donetsk, David Neres admitted that “pre-season and the first games were a bit difficult”, but now he feels ” physically, mentally and tactically better with every match that goes by”.

“A great performance from the under-20 team”

Roger Schmidt opened the press conference ahead of the match against Dynamo Kyiv with congratulations to the under-20 team that won the Intercontinental Cup in the category this Sunday in Montevideo with a 1-0 win over Peñarol. “It is a great achievement and a very good sign of the work being done in Benfica’s youth teams,” he underlined.

The German coach recalled that “Benfica’s youth teams are excellent and in Europe everyone knows that and they have shown it in the UEFA Youth League, but also in the Intercontinental Cup”. Schmidt admitted his squad will have “some players” who won the UEFA Youth League two years ago, noting that “Diego Moreira and Samuel Soares are already part of the A-team”, something he said is “very important”. is.

“We are pleased with the result they have achieved, after all it is part of Benfica’s philosophy to count on players growing in the youth ranks so that we can count on some,” he added, stressing that “a great job” is being done in the youth ranks of the club.

Author: Carlos Nogueira

Source: El heraldo