SL Benfica coach José Antonio Camacho is refusing to panic despite his club's goal drought as they prepare to welcome FC Shakhtar Donetsk in Group D.
SL Benfica coach José Antonio Camacho is refusing to panic despite his team's goal drought as they prepare to face FC Shakhtar Donetsk in their first home game in UEFA Champions League Group D. "It's going to be difficult to win, but scoring a goal will change the whole situation," Camacho said.
Saturday's goalless draw with local rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal means Benfica have not scored in open play since Nuno Gomes's injury-time strike in the 2-1 loss at AC Milan on Matchday 1. Because of their problems in front of goal, Benfica are already eight points behind title-holders FC Porto despite being unbeaten in their six Portuguese Liga matches this season.
The former Spain and Real Madrid CF coach refuses to lay the blame solely at the feet of his forwards. "We don't have a problem in attack, we have a problem scoring goals," he emphasised. "It's not just down to the strikers to score. The full-backs have to get their crosses in, and midfielders such as [Angel] Di María and [Cristián] Rodríguez can score too."
Camacho, in his second spell at the helm of the Lisbon outfit, is nevertheless happy with the team's general form and is "more or less" sure to start with the same XI that began against Sporting – so no major tactical switches. "We'll use 95 per cent of the tactics we employed against Sporting," the Spaniard said.
Shakhtar are nine points clear at the top of the Ukrainian Premier League having won ten and drawn one of their eleven games. Their coach Mircea Lucescu is confident his side can build on the 2-0 success against Celtic FC in Donetsk a fortnight ago. "We have plenty of young players, all with lots of quality," said Lucescu. "And we are a good team, as we showed against Celtic."
The Romanian, who is in his 30th year as a coach, acknowledges that it will be a tense encounter – "we're playing a team that needs the points too" – but still expects a high-quality spectacle. "We have four or five Brazilians, and they have four or five Latin players as well from Brazil and Argentina. The match will have a very high technical level."
On the break
Lucescu denies that Shakhtar are favourites though, saying that he is wary of Benfica's ability to play "very well on the counterattack". He has also refuted suggestions that Shakhtar's extensive summer recruitment campaign should give them an advantage. "We also lost important players this summer such as Matuzalem," he said.
One of Shakhtar's Brazilians, Fernandinho, is adamant that the visitors will strive to make up in ability what they lack in experience. "Players like Rui Costa have lots of experience," he said. "But we have a good level of football in Ukraine. We have to show we can do things in the UEFA Champions League, and that we can get through to the next phase."