September 09, 2023

Roger Schmidt: "Portuguese football is at the top of its game"

Ahead of the closing ceremony of the Thinking Football Summit 2023, Roger Schmidt, head coach of SL Benfica, winners of the 2022-23 Liga Portugal Betclic, took the TFS stage for an exclusive interview conducted by Liga Portugal Ambassador Ricardo Rocha.

Despite not being present at the Liga Portugal Awards, the German coach promised to appear at the Grand Professional Football Fair, where he was presented with the Manager of the Year award for the previous season, in which the Reds finished as the best attack and defence in the Liga Portugal Betclic.

"I am very happy to receive this award. If you succeed as a team, then individual success will follow," he said. When asked about his decision to join SL Benfica, Roger Schmidt insisted that he had no hesitation in making the move to Portugal.

"It was an excellent choice for me. I have an idea of how to play, but I always try to adapt to the league, the club and the players. It's always a good time when a new coach comes in because all the players have a new opportunity to show their talent and quality," he said.

The Reds' coach went on to explain his vision of the game and the technical and tactical guidelines he follows. "It's very easy to analyse because we always play the same way. I think the most important thing is to have a game plan and not adapt to the opposition. We have to believe in ourselves and think about how we can create chances to win. We try to play attacking football, with transitions and always trying to improve," he added.

"When we play in our own stadium, we usually have more possession and the opponents try to counterattack. But we always have to be organised and our secret weapon in these games is attacking pressure. In modern football, to make a difference and be successful, you need to have a very balanced team, where everyone knows how to defend and attack, as well as the individual quality of each player," he added.

Speaking to a packed crowd on the TFS Stage, Roger Schmidt also analysed the Reds' performance in the 2022-23 Champions League, a journey that filled him with pride. "It was a very difficult group. It was very important to win the first game against Maccabi and then against Juventus. That made the players believe that it was possible to go through to the next stage, and fortunately that's what happened in the end," he said, before ending by praising Portuguese football:

"Portuguese football is at the top of its game. It's always difficult to win every game, especially away from home, which speaks volumes about the level of competition. There are very good players in all the teams, with a lot of quality, and also good coaches with a lot of know-how.