“We must respect Aruka”

Otamendi at the end of the contract

Carlos Pereira Fernandes 21 hours ago

Nikos is our leader, he is a leader. He’s had a great time. His contract expires in the summer, he is a very experienced player and everyone knows how much he loves playing at Benfica. At this age we must always respect the plans of the players. I hope he stays because he is still a top player and can play every three days. He gives leadership, intelligence and experience to the team, on the field. That’s why I expect you to renew your contract for a year or two, but in the end I will respect your decision. Nico has been here for three years and will surely be a champion for Benfica this summer. I feel like he’s not that focused on what’s going to happen in the summer. Let’s hope he decides to stay at Benfica.

defining month of February

Carlos Pereira Fernandes 21 hours ago

In the last games we have shown that we are playing at a very good level, we are very reliable and the players have shown a good mentality. I saw a lot of attention and regular discipline. We needed these games to get our rhythm back. On a physical level, if we look at the numbers, we see that we are doing very well. The team is in good shape and we have to be ready to play every three days in three competitions. At the beginning of the season we showed that we can do it and we will do it again.

Enzo headed outside Benfica

Carlos Pereira Fernandes 21 hours ago

Enzo is our player. You have our full support. He is a great person and a great player. I already said that while the transfer window is open, you have to wait for something to happen. The same goes for Enzo’s question. We’ll see what happens, but my mindset hasn’t changed in the last few weeks. I liked the fact that, after the talks in early January, he focused again on Benfica. He played great games, which shows that the passion for Benfica is there, 100%, but we also know how the football business works. I can’t say more.

Gonzalo Ramos was injured

Carlos Pereira Fernandes 21 hours ago

He just has a little muscle problem. He will be out tomorrow but hopefully we can get him ready for Saturday. It’s a very minor injury, which makes us happy because when he came out we expected something more. We got Casper ready [Tengstedt] and Andreas [Schjelderup] very well during these two and a half weeks for a long season. It is in better condition. It will be good to have Casper in the team tomorrow.

Enzo can still leave

Carlos Pereira Fernandes 22 hours ago

You always have to prepare, especially at the end of the transfer window and when you’re not in the driving seat. We know we have a situation with Enzo. He has a clause in the contract, which means that if the player wants it and there is a club that pays that amount, you cannot stop him. You have to be prepared and find solutions, but for now you are our player. There is no agreement. Let’s see what happens in the next two days. I will be happy when the market is closed and we can focus on the players we have in the squad to have a top season.

Aruka powers

Carlos Pereira Fernandes 22 hours ago

They conceded a few goals, but they were in a few games. They have already scored 22 goals, so they have power in attack and can positively affect the game when they counter-attack. You have to respect their speed beforehand. When you have this number of points and are in this position, it’s because you deserve it. It is a team that believes in itself, is very disciplined and always fights for the 90 minutes. Let’s respect that. Against them, at home, we did well, we won, but I remember being impressed by their quality and physical strength.

Expectations for the game

Carlos Pereira Fernandes 22 hours ago

It’s a tough away game. We have already played Santa Clara and Paços de Ferreira. Now, it will be the third game in a row, away from home, with Aruka. We played well in the last two games, but we expect the same effective opponent. We know they are good at home, they are a fast team, good in transition… They are in sixth place in I Liga, which says it all. We have to be very focused, start well and fight for the three points.

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