Europa League: Benfica forward Rodrigo ready for tough Tottenham tie
Rodrigo has admitted that Benfica could not have been given a harder draw as they prepare to face Tottenham.
By Francisco Acedo
Last Updated: 13/03/14 2:37pm
The Portuguese side visit White Hart Lane for Thursday's first leg and battle will resume in Lisbon next week for the right to make it through to the quarter-finals.
Benfica dropped out of the UEFA Champions League earlier in the season after only managing to finish third in their group, but Rodrigo believes their clash with Spurs is worthy of gracing any European competition.
"This round is very difficult for both clubs," said the 23-year-old. "We are in the Europa League but this could be a match in the Champions League.
"With the quality of Spurs, the chances are 50 per cent.
"For us to be Europa League champions we must do it the hard way."
Rodrigo had a loan spell with Bolton Wanderers in 2010-11 and believes his time in England helped him to develop as a player.
He knows what to expect from a Premier League side and is determined to show how far he has improved.
"I remember my stay in England with Bolton. The Premier League is tremendously competitive and for me it was a big personal test," he recalled.
"I am always grateful for the opportunity at Bolton.
"Against Spurs in London we need stay calm and be patient. They will attack from the first moment because that is their style, and our defence will have to be strong.
"I expect a big match and personally it will be a special day for me. To play my best at an English stadium is very important."