Midfielder Pizzi and forward Talisca tell UEFA.com how Benfica are itching to reach their first UEFA Champions League semi-final as Bayern visit Lisbon for their last-eight decider holding a slender 1-0 lead.
UEFA.com: Are you looking forward to welcoming Bayern for the quarter-final second leg?
Pizzi: There is a fantastic atmosphere at the Estádio da Luz. Our fans show all their passion, and obviously everyone at Benfica expects another great European night.
Talisca: It’s great for the club and the players to have these fans. They are marvellous because they always support us and motivate us. The club really benefit from them.
UEFA.com: How does it feel to be part of a Benfica side that has enjoyed so much European success this season?
Pizzi: I’m very proud to be part of this fantastic group. To start with, we had a lot of problems but we managed to turn it around together. And I think now we’re going through a fantastic period. All of us grew up watching footage of Benfica’s great European nights with Eusébio and so on, so it’s a dream come true to be on these big stages representing a club like Benfica.
Talisca: Before, I’d only seen matches like these on TV, and today I can play in them, so for me it’s a great thrill.
UEFA.com: How has coach Rui Vitória helped Benfica take a step up this season?
Pizzi: He coached me at Paços de Ferreira and it’s always good to have a coach who can improve you. It’s also great to have so many youngsters coming through and playing and fighting as they have been. Benfica have always had a strong youth system and that is the case now with Renato Sanches, Nélson Semedo, Gonçalo Guedes and many more. A team isn’t just made up of experienced players – it needs youngsters and that fearlessness they bring. Us older ones try to help them so they can really break through.
Talisca: He explains to us what is right and wrong. When he explains things to us, we understand them and do what he asks of us. He demands the right things and he knows the club and the team really well.
UEFA.com: Benfica have not reached the semi-finals of this competition since 1990. Can you make it this time?
Talisca: We have a lot of potential. We work hard every day and are doing well in Europe and the Portuguese league, so we are focused. We know it will be a difficult match but we will carry on doing what we’ve been doing so far.
Pizzi: We’ve been showing our quality in the Champions League. It’s not just my dream but the dream of all my team-mates to be in a Champions League semi-final. We’re close, we know it will be difficult but we will give everything – we will fight from the first minute to the last to achieve our goal.
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