Friday, December 15, 2017

Vitoria refusing to give up hope despite humiliation at Basel

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 27 Sep 2017

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Benfica coach Rui Vitoria insists his side will continue to fight for qualification from Group A in the Champions League despite their woeful start to the campaign.

Having lost at home to CSKA Moscow in their opener, the Portuguese side were deservedly thrashed 5-0 at Basel as Dimitri Oberlin tore the visiting defence apart time and again.

That result leaves Benfica three points behind the two sides they have been beaten by, but Vitoria is adamant that their European campaign is not over yet – even if they are still to play leaders Manchester United home and away.

“There are four more matches to play,” he said. “We are three points off our target so let’s fight and work.

“Benfica have more quality than we showed. We must now pick up points in the games left and we’ll fight until the end.”

While Basel ran roughshod over Benfica after the break, Vitoria added that it would have been a very different game had his team not made crucial errors in the first half.

“Things started badly when we conceded a goal in the second minute,” he said. “We cannot make the mistakes we made. We paid dearly for them.

“We had plenty of the ball, but Basel scored twice from four attacks in the first half. In the second half, the errors continued and it ended with a result that we didn’t want at all.”

Eduardo Salvio – a half-time substitute – believes Benfica can bounce back from the defeat, repeating his coach’s optimism regarding the remaining group matches.

“It was a heavy defeat and a big blow for us,” he said. “No-one expected this, but we have to rise again and think quickly about the next match so that we can turn things around.

“This is a bad moment. These players have produced a lot of great moments. We have to be united in every moment, not only when we win. I believe in this team. There are more games to play and we’ll fight.”

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