Benfica manager Jorge Jesus has issued a strong defence of his side before their crucial Europa League match against Rangers on Thursday.
Portuguese outlet Record have claimed that nine Benfica players will miss the game at Ibrox as Jesus’ squad looks to be down to bare bones.
The Benfica boss has claimed that he has ‘no doubts’ over his side but admits that his situation is a less than ideal one due to the lack of players available.
The Scottish Sun quote Jesus as saying, “Am I confident despite the absences? Yes. Always. Sometimes some players that we think will not be first options go on to do well.
“Good things come from bad situations. I cleared all my doubts on Wednesday and I know who is going to be available.
“I don’t have many options, which isn’t what any coach wants, but I have no doubts over my team.”
Darwin Nunez is just one of the players who will miss the European clash at Ibrox after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Uruguayan contributed to Benfica’s two late goals by scoring one and assisting the other when the sides faced off at Estadio da Luz.
He isn’t the only key player missing as midfielders Julian Weigl and Adel Taarabt, who started in the first meeting of the two sides, will also miss the return leg.
Of course, Jesus isn’t going to sit in a press conference and say his team will lose but it is still surprising to hear the Portuguese manager speaking about being confident of a win against the Gers considering his side only just scraped a draw three weeks ago.
Jesus may have to rely on youth players on Thursday and this will come as a boost to Steven Gerrard’s side as they look to take a huge step towards qualification for the Europa League knockout rounds.
In other Rangers news, Rangers have a doubt of their own heading into the Benfica game.