Kostas mitroglou

Benfica claimed their seventh consecutive victory with a tense 1-0 win over Feirense on Saturday night. Pizzi kept his composure to score the game's only goal from close range in the first half, but the outcome could have been very different had the home side converted one of several golden opportunities.

After the final whistle, Rui Vitória admitted that Feirense really should have scored, and commended their battling qualities.

"I praised Feirense before the game, and I will continue to praise them now. It was a very well-contested game, by both our team and Feirense. It became more complicated because we didn't kill the match after it was 1-0, and this made Feirense believe until the end."

"The truth is that the game deserved more goals from both sides."

"I reaffirm this word of appreciation for an opponent that scrapped hard: they are a well-organised team that attacks with discretion, but this was a fair victory, at a difficult stadium, in which we managed to add three more points."

Before Benfica took to the field on Saturday, Porto had smashed seven past Nacional da Madeira, to temporarily overhaul the Eagles at the top of the Liga NOS. Did this pile extra pressure on Rui Vitória's team at the Estádio Marcolino de Castro?

"We are not concerned with the others. Our focus is on us, on what we have to do, and each game is a 'final' for us. Pressure at Benfica is normal and it has to be like this.... the others don't affect our focus. Starting from now, it is (time) to turn the page and to think about the game with Dortmund."

Pizzi continues to enjoy his most prolific season in a Benfica shirt; Saturday's goal was his twelfth of the season in all competitions, and his ninth in the Primeira Liga. The 27-year old conceded that Benfica's latest win had not been easy, but praised the efforts of his teammates.

"We knew that it was going to be a complicated game, against a good team, playing away from home, at a difficult stadium. But from the outset we started strongly, with concentration and the will to win. They are three very important points for the journey that remains, which will be difficult until the end."

"The most important (thing), beyond the goal, is to help Benfica to achieve victories. One cannot analyse only my performance, one must praise the assistance of the whole team, at a difficult stadium... (we had) a tricky time. (One has to) remark on the great exhibition of the group. We could have scored more goals, but the important (thing) is that we won."

The Portuguese midfielder has now started 49 consecutive matches in the Liga NOS, leading to allegations of tiredness from a significant number of supporters and pundits. But the player himself rejected these claims in no uncertain terms:

"I feel good... I'm at 100%. It is not worth commenting about fatigue, because it is mere journalism."

"I repeat, I'm at 100%, with the will to help (the team)."

Next up for the Encarnados is the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie with Borussia Dortmund, who warmed up for Wednesday's game with a 6-2 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. Benfica have a 1-0 lead to defend, but Pizzi is not underestimating the scale of the task ahead.

"We will think about this starting from tomorrow... right now we will recover our energies. It will be a difficult battle that we will have in Dortmund."

Category: