Mutual respect abounded as SL Benfica and Olympiacos FC looked ahead to their Lisbon clash but both camps know a victory could have a major bearing on their campaigns.
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SL Benfica coach Jorge Jesus says nothing will be decided on matchday three, but victory over Olympiacos FC would represent a significant step in the right direction. Both teams have beaten RSC Anderlecht and lost to Paris Saint-Germain FC so far in UEFA Champions League Group C and mutual respect abounds. Jesus spoke fondly of former players Javier Saviola and Roberto while Míchel, when asked who – if anyone – he would remove from the Benfica reckoning, was unequivocal in his answer: the coach.
Jorge Jesus, coachThe best teams are in this competition and you are always as close to winning as you are to losing. Olympiacos will be a hard team to beat. We are both on three points so nothing will be decided in terms of qualification, but it would be terrific to grab a win here. To beat Olympiacos we will have to play at the same level we did against Anderlecht [winning 2-0 on matchday one].
I won't say that PSG are already group winners, but they are best placed. Second spot is the most likely place for us to fight for. It's hard to say how many points we need, because in the past sides have got nine or ten points and failed to qualify. We have to play game by game and see what happens.
[Javier Saviola and Roberto] are players with different pasts at Benfica. Saviola came here with a great past behind him, a great player who had a great first season when we were league champions. Roberto came from Spain much younger, less known, and I still believe that he's a player with lots of quality. In time he'll show how great he is – but hopefully not tomorrow.
Saturday: CD Cinfães 0-1 Benfica (Ola John 52)
Oblak; Sílvio, Jardel, Steven Vitória, Bruno Cortez; Djuričić (Bernando Silva 80), Rúben Amorim, Lindelöf, Ivan Cavaleiro, Ola John, Funes Mori.
• Jesus took the opportunity to rest players as Benfica progressed to the Portuguese Cup fourth round.
Rúben Amorim (thigh) and Sílvio (knee) returned to action on Saturday. Lazar Marković is overcoming a thigh injury, as is André Gomes. Miralem Sulejmani (thigh) and Rodrigo (knee) are undergoing treatment. Eduardo Salvio continues to recover from a knee operation.
It's not decisive, but we want to win. We are happy and motivated. Our goal is always victory. Benfica have the advantage because they are at home. They are a club with history, always championship contenders, and deserve maximum respect. We have Roberto and Javier Saviola, but much more besides. We also have Greek fighting spirit.
It's a short tournament – you cannot make plans. After matchday one we were out already and after the second match we have a big chance of qualifying. We are not thinking about first place or second; we think only of going through. Benfica have lots of quality players, but if I had a choice to remove someone tomorrow, it would be the coach. He, for me, is the best.
We were happy with the win at Anderlecht. They had chances to score, but we had Roberto there on a great night. I hope the same happens here and we grab a good result. Saviola is doing very well. What more can we ask of him? He's a professional. He has brought a lot to Kostas Mitroglou and to the rest of the team. He's a great example.
Saturday: Platanias FC 1-4 Olympiacos (Torres 2; Fernandes og 66, Mitroglou 68, Saviola 73, Weiss 87)
Roberto; Salino, Manolas, Papadopoulos (Maniatis 65), Papazoglou; Ndinga (Campbell 46), Samaris; Weiss, Saviola, Fuster (Domínguez 46); Mitroglou.
• Mitroglou took his Super League tally to ten as Olympiacos staged a late fightback. Sambou Yatabaré missed out as he came back late from international duty with Mali.
Gaëtan Bong (foot, hamstring) is out; Paulo Machado is a doubt with a right knee complaint. José Holebas is expected to return from a a quad problem while Avraam Papadopoulos and Leandro Salino both made injury comebacks on Saturday.
• The five games between these sides have produced three wins for Benfica and two for Olympiacos. The Greek team have still to score in the Portuguese capital.