Jorge Jesus dismisses Benfica 'curse'
TURIN -- Benfica coach Jorge Jesus has insisted that it is time to put to bed the notion that the club has been "cursed" by a former manager for the past 50 years.
The Portuguese giants won the European Cup in 1962 but when their winning coach, Bela Guttman, was later dismissed in acrimonious circumstances, he vowed that Benfica would never claim another continental crown.
Up until now, his prophecy has proven correct, with the Eagles losing seven European finals in a row, including last season's Europa League showpiece against Chelsea.
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However, with Benfica favourites to make amends in this Wednesday's Europa League final against Sevilla, Jesus says he hopes that the so-called "curse" will be forgotten.
"No I don't think it is a curse," Jesus said at his prematch news conference. "Most of the players don't even know that story, that's folklore.
"We are going to have to break it. We could have done it last year, we have a chance again this year. What it does is motivate us further, it gives us greater strength, so we can lay rest to the ghosts of the 50 years without winning a European final. It's going to have to be broken, I hope tomorrow will be the time."
Benfica forward Rodrigo echoed his manager's sentiment, insisting talk of Guttman had not reached the dressing room.
"These sort of things come normally from the press," Rodrigo said. "We in the team are not worried at all, we don't believe in any sort of curse. We do not think we are under extra pressure."