Chelsea drawn against Benfica's brilliant Jesus

Portuguese team with the astute manager will be no pushover for Di Matteo's side, writes Sam Wallace

His name is Jesus and it took him 20 years of coaching, starting at small, lower league Portuguese clubs such as Amora, Felgueiras and Estrela da Amadora before he finally landed his big break with Benfica three years ago. He does not do witty rebukes in four different languages like Jose Mourinho and he does not have Andre Villas-Boas's designer stubble. But that does not mean Jorge Jesus should be under-estimated.

Click HERE to view Champions League draw: The road to Munich graphic

The 57-year-old coach of Benfica is the latest Portuguese football sophisticate to encounter Chelsea. His team will play the Premier League's last representatives in the Champions League quarter-finals first in Lisbon on 27 March and then in London eight days later and – who knows? – this could be his chance to make a lasting impression on Roman Abramovich.

Yesterday's draw for the Champions League quarter-finals and semi-finals could have been worse for Chelsea: they could have drawn Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Milan. But Benfica, who drew home and away with Manchester United in the group stages and qualified top, are no pushover.

There was a sense in Portugal yesterday that while Chelsea may consider Benfica a relatively good draw, the Portuguese club feel the same way about their English opponents. Not least because Benfica have a manager who has already taken points off Sir Alex Ferguson and, relatively late in his career, is blossoming into one of the stars of Portuguese football.

Unlike the template for new Portuguese coaches, created by Mourinho and continued, to a lesser extent, by Villas-Boas and Ricardo Sa Pinto at Sporting Lisbon, Jesus is not a young, sharp-dressing polyglot. In fact he speaks only Portuguese which has, in his own country, come to be regarded as a potential block on him ever moving to the Premier League.

At Benfica, however, he has launched some impressive careers. David Luiz, who, like Ramires, was bought by Chelsea at great expense, was languishing on the substitutes' bench when Jesus arrived at the club. Fabio Coentrao was on loan to a second division side. Angel di Maria was not first choice. All three of them were moved into the first team by Jesus, became stars and were sold for a total of more than £70m – in the case of Di Maria and Coentrao, to Real Madrid.

Benfica's model has been scouting rather than developing players and under Jesus they have done it brilliantly. They have the Spanish midfielder Javi Garcia and striker Rodrigo. There are the Argentines Nicolas Gaitan, Ezequiel Garay and the veteran Pablo Aimar. Maxi Pereira, from Uruguay, is considered one of the best of the crop.

In fact, the team is so international, encompassing Brazilians, the Paraguayan Oscar Cardozo and the Belgian Axel Witsel, that in the two group games against United only one Portuguese player, Ruben Amorim, featured in the starting line-up, and then only in the home game.

There are high hopes for Nelson Oliviera, who has just broken into the first team and won his first senior cap for Portugal and may well make the Euro 2012 squad. He joined the club at 15 and is the first academy player to graduate into the team in around 10 years, which is one similarity Benfica do share with their Champions League opponents.

Jesus and Villas-Boas clashed occasionally last season, when Porto won the title. At one point the younger manager said that his rival's press conferences were "monologues" because they were only given to the suppliant in-house club television station. A meeting between those two would have been intriguing, but it is Roberto Di Matteo whom Jesus will face later this month.

The Chelsea caretaker manager was reluctant to go into much detail on Benfica yesterday other than to say that he had seen them play many times. "They were in the same group as Manchester United and Basle so it will be tough for us. Playing the first game away is good for us, a bit like the Napoli game."

Di Matteo was even more taciturn on the possibility of playing Barcelona in the next round, should they beat Milan in the pick of the quarter-finals. In the other half of the draw, Real Madrid have the easiest route against Apoel Nicosia of Cyprus. They will play the winners of Bayern Munich and Marseilles. The final Uefa hope they will get will be between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

In the Portuguese league, Benfica were in second place, just one point behind the leaders Porto, before last night's round of games, in which Jesus' team faced Beira-Mar. They play Porto on Tuesday in the semi-finals of the Portuguese League Cup, which will be as good an occasion as any for Chelsea to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the team they will face.

As usual with a club such as Benfica, mired in debt and with many of their players' registrations part-owned by third parties, there is always the possibility that their best players could leave in the summer. Nevertheless, they would covet a semi-final place, especially one against Barcelona, just as much as Chelsea and they will not be an easy team to beat.

When asked about the possibility of playing the defending champions in the semi-final, Di Matteo proved even more recalcitrant than usual.

"Are you writing off Milan straight away? The leaders of Serie A, as easy as that? You can speculate if you want. I'm not. Game by game. That's what I've learned in my career as player and coach."

When United played Benfica, the always-lively Jesus said that he hoped Ferguson would lavish the same expensive wine on him as he did on Mourinho. If the mind games start with the Benfica manager, then Di Matteo will have to do better than saying he is taking it one game at a time.

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Bey can do it: Beyoncé re-enacts Rosie the Riveter's pose
newsRosie the Riveter started out as an American wartime poster girl and has become a feminist pin-up. With Beyoncé channeling her look, Gillian Orr tells her story
Life and Style
Donna and Paul Wheatley at their wedding
healthShould emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements