BLUES HOLD NO FEAR FOR BENFICA

Benfica do not see themselves as underdogs in Wednesday night's Europa League final, but their captain and coach both acknowledge the strength of an improving Chelsea.

Coach Jorge Jesus was joined by Luisao in the depths of the Amsterdam Arena on Tuesday to discuss the final against a side that eliminated them from last season's Champions League, and both believe it will be an exciting game between two excellent sides.

'In my opinion the strongest teams in the Europa League reached the final,' Jorge Jesus said. 'Chelsea is an excellent team and they will finish the Premier League in third place which shows their quality. With high quality players like the Benfica players are high quality.

'If we compare the performance in the last few years of Benfica and Chelsea, Chelsea has been in two Champions League finals, two semis, and tomorrow is in the final of the Europa League. It's normal people think Chelsea is the favourite but a final is a final and we have a different way of looking at those statistics. We have all the possibility of becoming winners tomorrow.'

A year on from their 3-1 aggregate defeat in the quarter-finals of Europe's other competition, Jorge Jesus feels he faces a different, but no weaker Chelsea side.

'First of all there is a new coach with different ideas,' he said. 'Chelsea this year has other players which give it a different quality in my opinion. They have better individuals, Oscar and [Eden] Hazard, so these two players have a technical quality missing last year.

'Chelsea wasn't as strong last year in the forwards. Within these characteristics we believe, we weren't happy last year, we were unlucky, but I hope tomorrow luck will be with us so we leave here as winners.'

Luisao, a former team-mate of David Luiz and Ramires, is looking forward to locking horns with his fellow Brazilians.

'It is a big occasion for me,' said the defender. 'Ramires and David Luiz were my team-mates in Benfica and the Brazilian national team. David Luiz is having an excellent career and I'm a big fan of Ramires. I'm very happy to play against them tomorrow in such a big game.

'I played with David Luiz in defence. We were both central defenders and his playing for Benfica was very important in his career. He learned a lot. In Brazil when we are youngsters we don't learn so much positioning in the field. Now his role as a midfielder is another step in his career. He grew a lot in his last days.'

A supporter of Corinthians in his homeland, Luisao watched our Club World Cup defeat in Japan back in December, but will not be using that as motivation for such a huge occasion.

'I watched that game, obviously,' he said. 'I am a fan of Corinthians and so I followed that game as a fan and not to try and understand any tactics. It's a different point in time, Chelsea is in a different period now. In the last few games they have changed their mentality and they are finishing their championship well. They have improved a lot in the last few games.

'This is an important match and we're all happy to be here. We are feeling the adrenalin, butterflies in our stomachs because it's such an important final.'

Dutch forward Ola John, playing in his own country, is looking forward to the prospect of facing one record-breaking Chelsea midfielder, but admits there are threats all over the field.

'Frank Lampard of course is a good player, he has played there for a long time and can change the game with his goals and assists,' said the 20-year-old. 'He is a top player but the whole team is good. They made it to the final with all of them, so we have to play compact and be aware of every player.'