Fri. Sep 22nd, 2023

Statements by Roger Schmidt, Benfica coach, at the “Thinking Football Summit”, a League event that ends this Saturday, in Porto

To what extent has the way of training changed in Portugal? “I always change a little. When I started my experience as a football coach I never wanted to, it was destiny, coincidence. I started at amateur levels and went through several countries. I developed, we started to understand what works and doesn’t work. Of course my training now is different. Especially because in recent years I have been coaching teams that play a lot of international football. In a team that only plays on the weekend and then Saturday. Playing on Wednesdays is completely different. We have to do everything in the pre-season in technical terms, physical, team building. In the season it’s just about playing and recovering. Coaches have to do maintenance training, but the task is completely different than when we have the whole week to prepare the team. I limited my mindset to football , is to keep it simple, the most important thing is to win games. We are a football team and we shouldn’t make things too complicated. I change things, but there shouldn’t be too much change. We have to be very close to the task at the end of week, it is important to develop the players, my approach in Portugal on a physical level was very similar to what I did before. The pre-season has to be a good base, in tactical and physical terms. If something fails in the pre-season, if we have international games, it is very difficult to recover that during the season. Pre-season is the crucial time to be successful in the season.”

Rafa in the middle, what did you want in the game with FC Porto? “It was a good idea, because we won the Super Cup. That’s what matters, but I understand what you’re saying. Sometimes I wake up in the morning… On the day of the Super Cup I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Everything is open until the last second. Gonçalo Ramos left for Paris and we needed a solution, I thought about which players I could put on the field, directly with a striker like Musa or Tengstedt, but then my decision was to play with Rafa. In fact the The difference was not Rafa. Aursnes was the second striker along with Rafa. Having someone to press, run and create compensation to support Rafa. The game started and FC Porto did very well at the beginning, pressing, they did a lot well, we lost some balls, we didn’t start the game very well. Throughout the first half we improved, we created opportunities and in the last 60 minutes we did very well. At half-time we changed the striker and ended up winning the game. As coaches we have to make decisions before the game, that’s the difference for the media or for those who watch the game. You can discuss after the game whether you could do this or that. I decided to put Rafa and Fredrik at the front and it turned out to be a good decision. We don’t know what will happen in the game, but after a few minutes we know what is needed and the most important thing is the changes to make.”

In the Super Cup they were perfect and Benfica won the game… “It’s true, but not just because of the substitutions. In the second half of the first half we were already improving. You never completely dominate against good teams from the first to the last minute. Sometimes we have to accept that they have good solutions, that they win balls and that create opportunities. We have to accept and work on the game to change the rhythm and momentum. It’s something I always accept and I know we have to be careful to always respect the opponent.”

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