Flamengo boss Jesus 'feeling the prestige' of Copa Libertadores final

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-23 10:12:52|Editor: huaxia
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LIMA, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Flamengo head coach Jorge Jesus said that his team's clash with River Plate in the Copa Libertadores final on Saturday carries the same prestige as the European Champions League decider.

The 65-year-old Portuguese revealed he felt like he was representing "an entire nation" as Rio de Janeiro giants Flamengo seek to end a 38-year title drought in South America's premier club competition.

"I'm feeling the responsibility and prestige that the Copa Libertadores has," the former Sporting Lisbon and Benfica manager told a news conference.

"It's like the European Champions League, even though I've never made it to the final there. I feel like I'm part of an entire nation that is chasing a dream, from all of Flamengo and all of Brazil."

Defending champions River are aiming for their fifth Libertadores title and third in five years while Flamengo have not featured in the competition's showpiece fixture since 1981, when their Zico-inspired side lifted the trophy for the only time in the club's history.

Flamengo will start the match at Lima's Estadio Monumental as favorites in the eyes of many, having been unbeaten in their past 25 encounters across all competitions.

But Jesus played down the expectations on his side, arguing that "there are no favorites in a final". He agreed with River manager Marcelo Gallardo that emotions would play a key part in deciding the match, but rejected the notion that the Argentinian team's recent success in the competition gave them an edge.

"The emotional component is important," he said. "People have said that River have more experience but I don't look at it that way. Emotion is something that can be controlled through hard work and training. With that, the pleasure of playing is not affected."