Sunday, April 21, 2024

What now for Benfica after a disappointing season

Benfica Blog
Benfica President Rui Costa will need to figure out the direction of the club for next season after a deifying past two weeks that saw the club fall twice to rivals and league leaders Sporting in league and Taca de Portugal action and although they do remain mathematically in the title chase, the chances of capturing the league title are slim at best.

Benfica also exited the Europa League in penalties to an inferior opponent in Marseille when manager Roger Schmidt decided that his game plan in the second leg was to protect their first leg win by doing so without high pressure and playing a defensive block. He was punished for his choice of a poor strategic plan, as the club lacked any offensive dynamics.

Schmidt is the big question mark in all of this, as moving on from the German bench boss will cost the club a hefty price tag, but the blame for this dilemma lands squarely at the feet of club President Costa. It was Costa who decided that German deserved an extension to his contract only a few months into his tenure. A decision that the President may have felt differently about if he had just waited for the season to conclude.

Schmidt also continues to show little flexibility and adaptability when his style of play does not work, his lack of proper use of substitutes, even when it clearly calls for them, is one of the more worrying signs for Benfica's future. The club now must decide if they will invest more funds in acquiring the players that fit into his style or move on from him and bring in a new sideline boss with a new identity who can get the most out of what the club already has on hand.

There is no doubt that Benfica, on paper, has the best squad in Portugal, but unfortunately, the game is not played on paper but on grass and on grass is where the club has faltered at almost every turn this season. Benfica fans require someone's head on a platter and President Rui Costa needs to decide what now for Benfica? Before that head is his. 

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