SL Benfica are "ready for our 'final' in Manchester" according to coach Fernando Santos after moving to within two points of the English club.
Fernando Santos' joy at his side's victory over FC København was tempered by a Celtic FC triumph against Manchester United FC which leaves SL Benfica needing all three points at Old Trafford in a fortnight to qualify. Visiting coach Ståle Solbakken, whose side were eliminated from Europe tonight, was left to lament a poor start as the Eagles scored twice in the opening 16 minutes.
Fernando Santos, Benfica coach
It was important to win today and be ready for our 'final' in Manchester. A draw between Manchester United and Celtic would have given us a much better chance, but that result was the worst possible for us. But everything is still open for us, although we know we’ll have a hard task there. Our first half was very good, we played well, scored three goals and could have scored more. In the second half we were still in control, but we didn’t dominate as we did in the first. This is the Benfica that I want: pragmatic, objective and defending well. In Manchester we have to win but they have the advantage as they know a draw is enough for them. We have to be calm there and not take too many risks from the beginning because they’ll also have lots of pressure on them.
Ståle Solbakken, København coach
Our plan went well until they scored two goals in 90 seconds. Those goals ended the match. We didn’t have the power to get back and, to be honest, the game was over after the two easy goals they scored. We were unfortunate tonight and Celtic’s win and that penalty miss by Manchester United in the last minute made it even worse. Football is about mistakes and we made mistakes at this level that aren’t allowed. The team were mentally down after the goals and at half-time we talked about playing for pride. It’s hard to score three goals in the first half so credit to Benfica.