Benfica coach Jorge Jesus: ‘We still have two titles to get’
Benfica coach Jorge Jesus claims the Portuguese champions’ appetite for success this season has yet to be sated as they begin the countdown to the Europa League final against Sevilla midweek.
Lisbon-based Benfica have already won the Portuguese Primeira Liga and Taça da Liga (League Cup) and will meet Rio Ave in the Taça de Portugal (Portuguese Cup) final on May 18.
Jesus is hoping those successes will feed Benfica’s appetite for more of the same, and a possible, historic haul of four trophies.
In Wednesday’s final in Turin, the Iberian giants clash in the hope of making up for near misses and reliving past glories in Europe’s second-tier competition.
Two-time European champions Benfica are still looking for their first Europa title having come runner up twice, including last year when Chelsea triumphed in Amsterdam, while Sevilla could claim their third trophy having won consecutive titles in 2006 and 2007.
“We are motivated by the triumphs and titles we have already achieved,” Jesus was quoted as saying on goal.com.
“We are making history, but we still have two titles to get and hopefully we’ll get them. The players and I want to have titles on our CV.
“We work at it every day and the Europa League is a goal that we would like to achieve.”
Benfica can feel at home in Turin as only two weeks ago they held on for a scoreless draw against Juventus to end the Serie A side’s hopes of a dream home final.
Sevilla secured their ticket for Turin in dramatic fashion when on-loan Cameroonian midfielder Stephane Mbia headed a decisive away goal in the fourth minute of added time in a 3-1 second leg defeat away to Valencia.
It was not the first time in the competition the Spaniards had made the difference in the dying minutes, but captain Ivan Rakitic said that simply underlines Sevilla’s never-say-die attitude.
“It wasn’t easy to come back against Betis and then again against Porto, and then once again against Valencia in the last minute,” Rakitic told Uefa.com.
“That shows the spirit we have and that we always give our all. We also know that we have to learn and improve some things, but I think the whole team has done an impressive job in general.
“I think we deserve to be in this final.”
While Benfica are desperate to make up for last year’s 2-1 final defeat to Chelsea, their seventh final reverse in a European final since 1962, Sevilla could make it three from three having triumphed on their two previous Europa League finals.
Jesus prefers to consider Benfica’s tendency to choke on the big stage in a positive light, adding: “Benfica have been in nine finals and won two and this is what makes the history of Benfica.
“Now comes the 10th. The players and coaches play for moments like this.”
Rakitic, meanwhile, says Sevilla’s path to Turin will count for nothing if they don’t make it all worthwhile.
“You have to play a final and win it, that’s what makes the difference because, at the end of the day, I don’t know if many people are going to remember the games against Porto or Betis,” he added.
“The final will be remembered so you have to do your best and give this club another trophy and make history - that’s the best thing there is.”
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Published: May 13, 2014 04:00 AM