Benfica’s season crumbles (Video)

Portuguese side Benfica were enjoying a sensational season until a few weeks ago. Top of the league with an impressive record of 28 matches without defeat, they were also in the Europa League final to be contested against Chelsea. There was also the matter of the Portuguese Cup final in the balance and a potential treble had fans dreaming. However, the season was to end in disaster after it all went horribly wrong!

Attractive, fluid football was being played, the fans and players were happy and Jorge Jesus was the man in charge that looked like he was about to celebrate success with a talented squad. Fast forward to today and the situation has changed dramatically; the league title was surrendered to Porto in dramatic fashion and Chelsea snatched European glory from their grasp in similarly incredible scenes. To top it all off they then went and lost the Portuguese Cup Final to Vitoria de Guimaraes.

Psychology is a crucial aspect of any sport and football is no different. As Porto scored an injury time winner against Benfica, in what was effectively the match to decide the title, whispers began that the players would be unable to recover and focus on the other competitions still left to play for. Guess what? They were right. Although they did play well against Chelsea in Amsterdam, including missing numerous decent chances to seal victory, as time wore on and they couldn’t make the breakthrough, there was a sense that Chelsea were able to capitalize on their doubts. Just as in the game against Porto, the players switched off at the crucial time and left Branislav Ivanovic to score with virtually the last kick of the game.

Heartbreaking scenes for all involved at the club, but they still had one more competition to try and win. Unfortunately for them they were emotionally drained and had taken such a mental beating during the previous week that it is perhaps understandable that not all minds were focused on the task at hand. Had they won the league and Europa league then there is no doubt that they would have completed a treble. Confidence is a huge asset in this game and without it even the best teams can suffer. The real challenge is how they pick themselves up for next season.

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