- Rui Vitoria has backed Benfica keeper Mile Svilar to respond to his ‘trial by fire’
- The Benfica boss put his squad, including Svilar, through their paces on Monday
- The 18-year-old keeper was at fault for United’s winner in the reverse fixture
Benfica boss Rui Vitoria has backed young goalkeeper Mile Svilar to respond positively to his ‘trial by fire’ at the hands of Manchester United.
A fortnight ago in Lisbon, 18-year-old Svilar carried Marcus Rashford’s free-kick over the line to hand United all three points from their Champions League trip to the Portuguese capital.
But ahead of Tuesday night’s reverse meeting at Old Trafford, Eagles head coach Vitoria is convinced his teenage stopper is ready to put his debut mistake behind him.
Rui Vitoria has backed young goalkeeper Mile Svilar to respond positively to his ‘trial by fire’
The Benfica boss put his players through their paces at Old Trafford on Monday night
The two teams meet on Tuesday in the reverse of United’s 1-0 win in Lisbon earlier this month
He told a pre-match press conference: ‘Svilar had a trial by fire – it was his first game in the Champions League. He’s only 18, a very young age.
‘But we only talk about him being 18 because his identification card says that. He actually shows maturity above his actual age.
‘We are calm. Mistakes can happen to any player, whether young or older, but when we have maturity and quality we can face any situation and go into games with great conviction.
‘He knows that to have a rosy future he will have to pass through these kinds of doors. He will play his part and he will be ready.’
Vitoria (centre) takes his team through their final preparations for the Group A fixture
The Benfica players get used to the surrounding’s at United’s famous home on Monday night
Svilar, 18, was at fault for the United match-winning goal in the game at the Estsadio de Luz
Luisao will miss out after being sent off against United at the Estadio da Luz but home fans may well get to see his fellow defender Ruben Dias – a reported target for Jose Mourinho – in action.
‘He is a young player who is showing immense progression and significant development,’ said Vitoria of the 20-year-old, who only made his first senior appearance for Benfica in September.
‘He has huge potential and will improve a lot. We want him to stay with us for many years – he’s from our academy.
‘As for any issues around his future elsewhere I cannot say anything else, that’s not my place.’