I bolded the Benfica-related parts:
Mourinho: "In Lisbon for us and Eusebio"
Thursday, 14 August 2008 14:56:07
APPIANO GENTILE - José Mourinho spoke to Inter Channel's Roberto Scarpini before training this morning ahead of Friday's Eusebio Cup match against Benfica in Lisbon.
This is what he had to say:
Your pre-season preparations come to an end with Friday's Eusebio Cup match in Lisbon. The serious stuff starts from the 24 August.
"Yes. We have worked well for about a month, playing some tough friendlies. We didn't play any against small teams that we'd have won 10-0. We played against big clubs and played away from home. It won't be any different against Benfica. We play in a wonderful stadium in front of maybe 55,000 spectators, against a strong team that wants to win the Portuguese championship, and it will be their first match at home. It will be an important training session for us."
You will be playing for a trophy named after Eusebio, one of the most famous players of all time. What comes to mind when you think of The King?
"For us Portuguese Eusebio is the true king. He's the only player in Portugal who played for Benfica who was admired by all the fans, even those of Porto and Sporting. I have memories from when I was little and my father played in the Portuguese national team with Eusebio. My father was the first goalkeeper in Portugal to save a penalty from Eusebio. Eusebio was born on 25 January and I was born on 26 January. For me he's a special person.
From a professional point of view tomorrow will be an important chance for the team to improve, but from a personal point of view it will have a special significance: a return to Portugal, a trophy dedicated to Eusebio, and Benfica, the first club I coached at. For me it will be a bit different from a normal friendly."
(You mean...a special
Eusebio has spoken kind words about Mourinho the coach. So we can say that there's reciprocal esteem.
"Eusebio played in the national team for many years and he's still close to the national team now. When we decided to plan our summer fixtures with the president and decided to play against Benfica, he remembered the 1965 European Cup final in which Inter beat the Portuguese. The president also told me how at one point his father Angelo was close to bringing Eusebio to Inter. It will be very exciting for everyone, for us Portuguese who return home to face Benfica
, and for the president who will certainly remember that beautiful time in Inter's history."
Eusebio said he's sorry for Mourinho and Figo, but he says that the cup must remain in Lisbon because it's the first edition of the trophy
"I think that Franz Beckenbauer said the same thing to the Bayern Munich players, but the enormous cup in his honour is in Milan now. It's not too important, but we will win it if we can. Anyway, the cups we really want to win are those you win in May. We will have to work for ten months to win these important competitions."
Benfica start the season with great ambitions, and their preparations have been similar to Inter's.
"Benfica are a world level club, but they have won one league title in the last ten years. This is hard for them to accept. they want to get back to winning. They have made some important investments this year. Rui Costa has accepted to be the club's sporting director, but only under certain terms. They have some important players and for the mentality of their fans playing a friendly at home to Inter has a special meaning for them. With Luis Figo and his past at Sporting and with José Mourinho and his past at Porto, it certainly won't be a friendly for them."
Benfica have also faced some big clubs in their pre-season.
"Yes, they have played real matches, always. From a footballing point of view, facing good teams with different styles and mentalities has been very useful for us. It's a pity that three or four great players have only been able to play a few minutes of these games after ending last season with serious injuries. We are planning the future for them too and we will organise a match for Samuel, Cordoba and Chivu when there's the international break after the first round of the league."
After leaving Valencia, Quique Sánchez Flores is set for his debut as coach of Benfica. Nice memories of his matches against Chelsea in the Champions League?
"Yes. I was about to face Inter, but it was Valencia who qualified for the next round. Those were two very tough matches with Chelsea. After the 1-1 draw in London we won away from home and qualified with a goal in the 91st minute."
What kind of Inter will we see tomorrow evening?
"We will see an Inter without a lot of players. We have been in this situation since the start of our preparations. In Munich I said we had two teams: one on the pitch and one in the stands. It will be the same in Lisbon, it's just that one will be on the pitch and the other will be here in Appiano Gentile to train with the fitness coaches and the medical staff: Cordoba, Materazzi, Samuel, Vieira, Chivu, Rivas, Adriano and Dacourt. But for the others it will be the natural evolution of a team that has a structure now. It's a shame Adriano can't play because the team worked very hard to play well against Ajax, and just as well this week, thinking they would play with the Brazilian in attack alongside Ibrahimovic. It's a shame we won't see the two players together in a team that is improving very well in terms of its organisation in defence. All the work done in the last fifteen days can be put away now, and we're waiting for Adriano to return to full training. However, the team is working well and we're confident for the future. We have to play against Sampdoria and Roma before the championship break and we have to win. This is important for us because the injured players will be ready to play when we resume."
Do the international commitments prevent you from working in an optimal way ahead of the Super Cup on 24 August?
"Yes. This is the life of a coach of a big club. You know that almost every month you have to make do without players who leave for matches with their national teams. You need to have a bit of luck and not see players return with injuries. This is our life. We're obviously not happy if a player like Ibrahimovic is called up to his national team. We have been working with him for a long time to have him ready for the first competitive matches, which are very important for us. But these are the rules of the game and we have to accept them. Argentina's friendly against Belarus doesn't come at a very good time, but I have spoken with the club and I'm very happy because they have created the conditions for me and the players to work in the most professional way possible. I will go and see the match and after it I will immediately return to Milan with the Argentine players thanks to a private flight. I'm grateful to the club for this excellent organisation. In this way the players can rest directly in Milan and the next day they can train with their team-mates. I thank the club for this and obviously the three Argentine players, who are very happy to have this opportunity."
We'll probably field this side tonight