Zenit coach Andre Villas-Boas says his players will meet an “angry” Benfica team in the Champions League on Tuesday following their defeat to rivals Porto.
Benfica saw their eight-match winning run in the Primeira Liga come to a halt against their fierce rivals as Villas-Boas’ former club Porto ran out 2-1 winners at the Estadio da Luz on Friday.
Sporting CP beat Nacional a day later to go three points clear at the top of the Portuguese top flight.
As Villas-Boas’ Zenit prepare for their last-16 first-leg clash on Tuesday, the former Porto boss said: “I expect Benfica to be angry after the Porto result and eager to get back to winning ways.
“In recent months they have transformed themselves completely. They are playing well, winning, scoring lots of goals.
“This Benfica plays down the flanks, they cross a lot and create many goal chances from wing play. They play with a high defence, taking risks with the offside trap and they look very sharp.
“I underline Jonas’ quality and also Renato Sanches, who has tremendous confidence for an 18-year-old. This mix of youth and experience make Benfica a quality side, good to watch.”
Zenit’s Russian Premier League defence does not begin until March and they have not played a competitive match since their final Champions League group stage match against Gent in December.
“Our weakness is that we have been stopped two months,” the Portuguese acknowledged.
“But we have worked very well over past two months and our aim is to grab a good result in order to qualify at home, where we have had some great performances in this competition.”
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