FERREIRA: BACK IN BLUE

Posted on: Fri 30 Mar 2012

It needed an all-round team performance to secure a first-leg lead in our Champions League quarter-final but two of the less-selected squad members this season took big parts in the game's story.

Salomon Kalou started for the first time this season in the Champions League and rewarded Roberto Di Matteo's faith with the goal, while Paulo Ferreira was handed his first action since New Year's Eve.

With Branislav Ivanovic not fully recovered from a thigh strain, Jose Bosingwa would have been expected to be handed the right-back role but it was the other Portuguese right-back who was the surprise choice, and Ferreira was pleased with how he acquitted himself.

'We are really happy because we got a good result against a good team, and I am also happy because I was not playing for a long time and I played 80 minutes and helped the team,' said the 33-year-old.

'Every day I do my work and try to be in the best condition if the manager wants me, and this game he chose me and I tried to give my best. Another day I could do even better but in physical terms I knew that I couldn't make crazy runs so I needed to play with more intelligence. Doing 80 minutes I think is really good for the fact I have not been playing.'

Although he grew up just a short journey away from Lisbon, Ferreira made his name further north at Benfica's big rivals Porto, and he discovered on the morning of the game he would again be facing old adversaries.

'It is always good to be in my country and play in this beautiful stadium as well,' he said, 'but we thought that we could score because we have wonderful players who can decide games.

'It was a wonderful counter attack and Ramires did very well on that side and made space. It was a good ball as well from Fernando [Torres] for Salomon [Kalou] so it was a good goal and good for him, he deserves it.

'But we had to defend also because Benfica are a good side and it was hard work.

'Everyone played for the team but it is not over yet. We know Benfica has the capacity to score goals away and we need to be careful as well, but playing at home with our supporters in our stadium we will do everything to pass this stage.'