Jorge Jesus was in no doubt that a draw at home against FC Barcelona in UEFA Champions League Group G would be a decent return for his SL Benfica side, but as he juggles with injury problems, Tito Vilanova is sure that the Lisbon side have their eyes on all three points.
Coach Jorge Jesus
For me, playing against Barcelona is normal, as we are in the Champions League where you play against the best teams. We had Celtic, now it's Barcelona. We'll try to stop them like any other team would. We respect them, but we don't fear them.
Barcelona are not just [Lionel] Messi. Xavi [Hernández] and [Andrés] Iniesta are the ones who give quality to their attacking game in the key areas where Messi appears to score. We have to defend properly, but with their individual skills they can make the difference. A point against the favourites would be good. Not losing in matches like this one is a good result.
It will be a big European night, like we have had in recent seasons, so the big difference is that the opponent is Barcelona. The atmosphere will be great and we want to perform well against them, and if possible get a point.
Friday: FC Paços de Ferreira 1-2 Benfica (Cícero 16; Lima 18 71)
Artur; Maxi Pereira, Jardel, Garay, Melgarejo; Matić (Martins 67), Pérez, Nolito (Gaitán 46), Salvio; Rodrigo (Almeida 80), Lima.
• Having scored as a substitute on his debut the previous week, Lima marked his first start for Benfica with two goals.
Óscar Cardozo has been ruled out with a thigh injury, but Pablo Aimar is expected to be available after shaking off a problem with his right leg.
Coach Tito Vilanova
[Carles] Puyol always recovers more quicker than the doctors say because of his mentality. He has a real will to play and works hard. Mentally he's very strong.
I don't think that Benfica will sit back in midfield and wait for us. It's their first home game and I don't believe that Benfica will be happy with just one point. Benfica's attack worries me, but we play our way. Sevilla also had good wingers and created danger on the counter, but the important thing here is not to lose our identity and to keep our style of game. We'll see who can play for us and then we will analyse the opposition's strengths.
It won't be easy, as we know from our two last matches here where we didn't score [Barcelona's only two previous visits produced goalless draws]. They are strong in attack and dangerous on the wings.
Benfica are a big club, and because of what they have done in the past, they have earned our respect.
Saturday: Sevilla FC 2-3 Barcelona (Trochowski 26, Negredo 48; Fàbregas 53 89, Villa 90+3)
Valdés; Alves (Villa 79), Song, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets (Thiago 75), Xavi, Fàbregas; Alexis (Tello 70), Messi, Pedro.
• Cesc Fàbregas's two goals in Seville were his first in the Liga since 8 January.
Gerard Piqué (sprained ankle) remains on the sidelines, while Thiago Alcántara will miss the next eight weeks after sustaining ligament damage to his right knee in Seville. Vilanova said that he would wait and see whether captain Puyol (knee), Iniesta (adductor) and Adriano (pelvis) "can play 90 minutes or if they can play at all".
On Barcelona's last trip to Lisbon, Piqué and Messi were among the scorers in a 5-2 victory at Sporting Clube de Portugal in the 2008/09 group stage. Their record in Portugal is W3 D3 L4, with their last defeat coming at CF Os Belenenses in the 1987/88 UEFA Cup first round. They still progressed 2-1 on aggregate.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.