The only three-time UEFA Futsal Cup winners, holders Interviú Madrid are aiming to make it four this week in Lisbon. Jesús Candelas, the coach that oversaw their 2004 and 2006 triumphs, was reappointed to the helm earlier this season and told UEFA.com about the unknown quantity that is Azerbaijani semi-final opponents Araz Naxçivan and the importance of the European title to the club.
UEFA.com: What are your expectations going into this tournament?
Jesús Candelas: Well, what we want is to win it which we know is going to be extremely difficult. It's a question of having the ability to do so and also knowing you can while always maintaining respect for your rivals.
UEFA.com: What's your opinion of your semi-final opponents Araz Naxçivan?
Candelas: They're an unknown quantity; we do not know much about them. We've been able to analyse their game against Kairat Almaty, but they've changed some players recently so we'll have to find out what they're about in the game itself.
UEFA.com: If you had to pick out a danger man from Araz who would that be?
Candelas: They've got several players of Brazilian origin. They're all of a medium to high standard and although none of them are particularly exceptional, they've got solid defenders and a good pivot. What is clear is that they are dangerous, as many of them helped Azerbaijan to reach the semi-finals of the last UEFA European Futsal Championship.
UEFA.com: Interviú are one of the favourites. Would anything other than winning the title be a bad result for the team?
Candelas: Yes. After having not enjoyed much success on the domestic front lately, our expectations are to win this championship.
The UEFA Futsal Cup represents something on a big scale because of the knock-on effects it has on a sporting level and also a financial one. We have to demonstrate that our status as favourites in this competition is justified.
UEFA.com: Do you think that playing at home in front of 12,000 fans gives an advantage to SL Benfica in the fight for the title?
Candelas: Benfica have a lot riding on these finals. Having said that I don't think that playing in this particular arena is such a big advantage for them. Where they normally play their home games the supporters are a lot more on top of the action making it a place that's far more intimidating in terms of atmosphere. Where we are going to play there is more distance between players and fans and the noise generated is not the same.
UEFA.com:How do you rate Benfica's opponents, Luparense C/5?
Candelas: If they are capable of beating ElPozo Murcia it's obvious they are a good team. They also have a lot of Brazilian players but with the added bonus that they play in a very competitive Italian league. This is their big opportunity, although like us they're not enjoying their best form on the domestic front.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.