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Porto coach says lost respect for Benfica rival

11 May 2015, 15:38

Lisbon - Porto coach Julen Lopetegui left the usual cliches aside as he launched a scathing attack on his Benfica counterpart Jorge Jesus, saying he had lost respect for the Portuguese after their clash on the pitch last month.

Lopetegui and Jesus were involved in a heated exchange after their teams drew 0-0 in a top-of-the-table clash at Benfica's Stadium of Light two weeks ago and had to be pulled apart by team officials.

"The coach of Benfica talks a lot, he says what he wants and he talks about everyone. I have the maximum respect for my fellow coaches, all of them, and I also had respect for him," Spaniard Lopetegui told reporters following Sunday's 2-0 win over Gil Vicente.

"I lost that respect when he contradicted himself in comments he gave to a newspaper, giving them the wrong impression of what he had said to me. That revealed an enormous lack of class for someone who has so much experience in this profession."

"He likes to talk about how other teams play, or should play," added Lopetegui, who took over at the start of the season. "But he speaks from under a protective cover and when he no longer has this cover, he will get to know reality."

Also read: Porto look to follow through

Porto are second in the league and need leaders Benfica to drop four points in their last two games to have any chance of overhauling their rivals.

Lopetegui's comments were unusual in Portugal where, even more than in other countries, players and coaches usually trot out generic quotes about respecting the opposition, giving their best and taking one match at a time.

Lopetegui also hit out about reports that he had singled out goalkeeper Fabiano for criticism in front of the team following their 6-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

"It's unbelievable. When there is no information, they decide to invent something and the news about Fabiano was a fabrication," he said.

"Fabiano is a wonderful professional, and a great lad. To invent a story such as this damages the credibility of journalist. Every day there is a film against Porto......every single day."

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- Reuters


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