Premier League behind others technically: Benfica coach

London: The Premier League is inferior to the Spanish, German and Italian leagues because it is less tactical and technical, Benfica coach Jorge Jesus said on the eve of his side`s Champions League group match against English champions Manchester United.

The Premier League is the most watched in the world with a report by media consultants Sport+Markt last month saying 70 percent of the world`s estimated 2.08 billion soccer fans regularly watch English top flight matches.

However, according to Jesus, that does not make it the best.

"In my opinion compared to the Spanish, German or Italian leagues, they (those three) have bigger tactical demands on every match and that is why I say this," he told a news conference at Old Trafford Monday.

The influx of players and managers from abroad is helping the English game, he added.

"There are many foreign players playing in England and also foreign managers as well. Technical and tactical quality has improved ...(but) I think those three leagues I mentioned before are slightly above."

Jesus said Manchester United, who won a record 19th English league title last season, were something of an exception.

"Manchester United are different and that is the reason why they have won so many things," he said. "They have different ideas...they show that on the pitch. In my opinion they are much stronger technically this season.

"They keep the ball well, almost every match they have 60 percent of the ball."

Benfica will get the opportunity to experience United manager Alex Ferguson`s tactics and his players` technical abilities first hand Tuesday when the Group C leaders meet.

The pair have eight points from four matches, with the Old Trafford club ahead on goal difference, and victory would put the winners through to the knockout stage with a game to spare.

A draw would qualify both if Basel lose to Otelul Galati.

United have lost only one of their last 34 Champions League games at Old Trafford, dating back to 2005, and have never been defeated by Portuguese opposition at home.

"We are aware of that," Jesus said of the statistics.

"They are a very strong team but we are also very strong opponents."

Bureau Report

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