Benfica aim to bounce back after triple heartbreak

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Jorge Jesus knows that this coming season will be the most important in his four years as Benfica coach after a 2012/13 campaign which saw the Lisbon side lose their three most important games of the season, all by a 2-1 scoreline.

Jesus' side were on course to win the league, the cup and the Europa League before falling to a 2-1 defeat to rivals Porto on the penultimate weekend of the league race, putting the title in Porto's hands going into the final day. And unlike Benfica, Porto didn't let that opportunity pass them by.

With two cup competitions still to play for, Benfica went into the Europa League final against Chelsea and put in a spirited performance, but ultimately lost the match 2-1 to a last minute goal - just as they had to Porto. The Reds didn't do any better in the domestic cup final either, losing 2-1 to underdogs Vitória Guimarães.

The club is determined not to let this season end in similar disappointment.

Benfica have already added 10 new players and may yet sign more. They have also managed to keep their main stars at the club, with the only notable departure so far being winger Nolito leaving for Celta Vigo.

Last season's top scorers: Lima, Cardozo, Salvio and Moreno all look set to playing at the Estádio da Luz next season, with Benfica looking for no less than €40m for the sale of Eduardo Salvio who has been on Man City, Spurs and Arsenal's radar.

Among those arriving at the club are young talent Lazar Markovic, fellow Serbian Filip Djuricic and Argentinian defender Lisardo López for a combined total of €20m.

The three exciting prospects should add to Benfica's squad and put them in prime position to win the title back from Porto who have lost midfielders João Moutinho and James Rodríguez to big spenders Monaco.

Losing two of those key players will obviously make Porto's defence of the league title more difficult and Jesus should expect to get his hands back on the trophy he won in his first year in charge next May.

As for the Champions League, Benfica are already in the group stages and will be keen to do better than last season where they exited to the Europa League at the Group Stages. They are already qualified for the groups for this year and will hope to get as close to the final - to be held at their Estádio da Luz - as possible.

The whole squad knows that another disappointing May will not be accepted by the fans. With a stronger squad, however, and arguably weaker opposition, Benfica's supporters should expect some silverware this time round.


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