Benfica coach Fernando Santos is looking to bounce back from the weekend defeat at Braga as they look ahead to Tuesday’s Champions League showdown with FC Copenhagen.
The defeat at Braga prompted club president Luís Filipe Vieira to publicly question his players’ attitude, but Santos believes his players have the wherewithal to bounce back from the reverse.
“We’ve been thinking about the situation but have to find the answers inside the dressing room,” said Santos. “I know the players well and they’ve responded well in the past.”
A victory for either side tonight will guarantee at least third place in the section, altough defeat will end their hopes of Champions League progress.
“We have to take control from the start but if we don’t get an early goal, we have to keep calm,” the Benfica coach added. “We have to stay very concentrated because it will be like a semi-final. The final will be at Old Trafford and we have to win to keep our chances alive. I want us to be dynamic in attack.”
Meanwhile, Copenhagen coach, Stale Solbakken, described Benfica as “a team under tremendous pressure”, adding: “They will be eager for an early goal to calm their nerves. They will attack us from the beginning but if the game remains scoreless our chances will grow.”
“Benfica rarely lose at home,” added Solbakken. “I don’t think you will see me too unhappy with a draw. We know if we get a draw, we have a good chance of going through, at least to the UEFA Cup.”
Solbakken welcomes back the fit-again Jesper Grønkjær for his first Champions League appearance since injuring his groin during the opening game in Group F.
Quim; Nélson, Anderson, Ricardo Rocha, Léo; Petit, Konstantinos Katsouranis, Nuno Assis; Simão, Fabrizio Miccoli, Nuno Gomes.
Jesper Christiansen; Lars Jacobsen, Brede Hangeland, Michael Gravgaard, Oscar Wendt; Michael Silberbauer, Tobias Linderoth, Hjalte Nørregaard, Atiba Hutchinson; Jesper Grønkjær; Marcus Allbäck.