Schmidt sets stall out for Benfica: 'It's time to prove we belong here'

By Sports Desk April 18, 2023

Roger Schmidt called on Benfica to "prove we belong here" as he targets a comeback in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Benfica face Inter at San Siro on Wednesday, trailing 2-0 from the first leg in Lisbon last week.

The Portuguese giants have already won away to Italian opposition in the Champions League this season, beating Juventus 2-1 during the group stage, though they were winless in six such games prior to that match (D1 L5).

Schmidt's team are also unbeaten in seven Champions League away matches; they have won their last two games on the road and will need to win three in a row for the first time since March 1990 if they are to progress to the final four.

Benfica have been one of the standout performers in this season's tournament, and Schmidt wants his side to prove their credentials.

"We need to score, which we've proved that we can do in important Champions League matches," he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

"We had our chances last week too but didn't make the most of them.

"We need motivation, sharp minds and leave all emotions off the pitch. It is time to prove we belong here, otherwise we'll be out of the Champions League.

"I've seen my team play at their best and there were big margins of improvement from the performance I saw last week.

"I believe in my team and anything is possible in football, even if we are not starting from 50-50 odds. It's not easy, but it is not impossible either."

Benfica's defeat last week was wedged between domestic losses to Porto and Chaves.

Schmidt added: "It is very strange to have lost three games in a row in all competitions, and unexpected.

"The players did fantastic things all season. Even if Inter won 2-0, the statistics show it was a fairly balanced match and we had our chances too.

"It's impossible to be too downbeat after a season like this."

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