Benfica manager Rui Vitoria expressed his wish to secure their place in the Europa League as a seeded team and also said that it was the motivation for which Benfica gave their best to get the 1-0 win against AEK Athens. As Bayern Munich and Ajax, both have already qualified for the ‘Round of 16’, both teams played last night’s game knowing that they won’t have any chance in the UCL this season.
However, a win over AEK Athens gave Benfica a chance to be among the seeded teams in the Europa League. The Greek club tried their best to get their first win after facing five straight losses in the UEFA Champions League this season. But, Alejandro Grimaldo scored for Benfica in the 88th minute with a brilliant free-kick.
At the post-match press conference, Benfica boss gave his views on last night’s game. When reporters asked him if he had faced any difficulty motivating the footballers, Rui Vitoria told Eleven Sports: “No, because we knew we wanted to win and go into the Europa League as a seeded team.”
He then said “We had 22 shots and we had a huge amount of time in possession. We deserved to win,” and further added “In the second half we were more aggressive and we wanted to attack the opponent. The players we introduced also brought more mobility.”
The match winner Alejandro Grimaldo also expressed his happiness in his interview with UEFA.com. When he was asked about his coordination with the Portuguese club, Grimaldo said: “I am happy with the way things are going with me and for the team’s dynamic.”
He then said “We had a good match, deserved the win, we tried until the end, and I am happy that we did it,” and added, “We have to think game by game and see who we play against, but we are ambitious.” Alejandro Grimaldo then further said, “First we have the league and only then we’ll think about the Europa League.”
— SL Benfica (@SLBenfica) December 12, 2018