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Europa League: Reds get Besiktas

UCL
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Mark Lomas blog photo  By Mark Lomas

Jorge Jesus to use final experience

TURIN -- Benfica coach Jorge Jesus believes the experience of last year's Europa League final defeat to Chelsea will help his side in this season's showpiece, but refused to label the Portuguese club "favourites" for the match.

Jorge Jesus began his coaching career in 1989
Jorge Jesus is preparing his Benfica side to face Sevilla.

Benfica lost 2-1 to the Blues in agonising fashion in Amsterdam last May thanks to Branislav Ivanovic's stoppage-time goal. But the Eagles are back in the final and, having already won the Portuguese League and League Cup, are widely expected to triumph in Turin.

However, Jesus insists it will be far from straightforward against Sevilla, telling assembled media at his prematch news conference: "It's true that when you're prepared for a final, which is the case this year because we were in the final last year, you feel more secure. It doesn't create great difficulties at an emotional level -- the more decisive moments you go through the more confidence you have.

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"But that doesn't mean we have the edge over Sevilla. We're stronger because we've been through situations similar to this. We usually go match to match but this time it's final to final. The fact we've been in a final before makes us calmer but tomorrow it's Sevilla and that's how we will look at it.

"We know the opponent is a strong one, we know they have won this competition twice -- there is history behind them. It will be a well contested match. I don't see that there are favourites -- I don't think we have an edge over Sevilla just because we played in a final last year."

And with the club having failed to taste European glory in more than half a century, Benfica captain Luisao is determined to add another continental title to the club's trophy cabinet.

"Of course that's something we all want," Luisao said. "I know how it feels, the pleasure of winning with Benfica and now we have a European competition. We believe that we can win."

But Luisao did admit that despite Benfica's success this season, there have been some nerves in the build-up to the game, adding: "I confess it isn't easy to prepare. We have been through many matches, there's always a bit of anxiety -- it's good anxiety -- we think about the game and we just want the game to get there already. As far as I'm concerned I'm a little anxious, with butterflies in my stomach. It's a good sign, it means I am happy, connected and ready to go."

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