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Perfect planning pays off for Benfica's Jesus

Jorge Jesus pointed to SL Benfica's "tactics and strategy" as the decisive factors against FC Zenit St Petersburg, as counterpart Luciano Spalletti admitted his side were second best.

Perfect planning pays off for Benfica's Jesus
Perfect planning pays off for Benfica's Jesus ©UEFA.com

Jorge Jesus, Benfica coach
Our tactics and strategy went well tonight. We were up against a great team, the best in Russia. It was important to score first as we knew they could cause us problems if we didn't. Once we went ahead we were able to hit them on the counterattack. In the second half, they had more possession but we could have made it 2-0 earlier. I was pleased that Nélson Oliveira was able to finish the match off.

If possible we would like to face an English opponent in the next round, maybe Chelsea. I wouldn't like to face Real Madrid, they have many Portuguese − and former Benfica − players.

Luciano Spalletti, Zenit coach
We must admit that Benfica deserved the victory. We underperformed and we still lack experience at this level. It has been a feature of our away games that our opponents have shown more quality and we have encountered a mental barrier that we need to overcome. We did not perform as well as we can tonight. After the break we tried to control the game and created a number of chances that could have earned a result, but Benfica were simply better than us this time.

Reaching the last 16 is a major achievement for us and we performed solidly all season. Today we weren't so good but we've had great wins during this campaign − against FC Porto, for example. When you are in the knockout stages you can't expect opponents to make mistakes that will make life easier for you. You need to be at your peak.

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