Benfica boss Jorge Jesus has sent a rallying cry to his depleted squad as the Portuguese giants prepare to face Rangers in the Europa League.

Three weeks on from the reverse fixture in Lisbon – which ended 3-3 in a pulsating contest – Benfica visit Glasgow and Ibrox as the two group leaders go head to head.

SL Benfica v SC Braga - Liga NOS

Benfica boss Jorge Jesus has sent a rallying cry to his deleted Benfica squad ahead of the Rangers match. (Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Portuguese side will be much changed from the match at the Estadio de Luz with eight players ruled out of the tie.

Five of those – amongst which includes £21m man and Benfica’s gamechanger in the last game Darwin Nunez – have been affected by Covid-19 issues.

Nunez and Julien Weigl are actively battling the virus whilst David Tavares and Mile Svilar have recovered but are not fit.

Adel Taraabt was the latest player to test positive for Covid this week.

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Nuno Taveres, Andre Almeida, Jean-Clair Todibo and Pedrinho are also injured.

Nonetheless, Jesus has backed his decimated side to make an impact against Rangers as he urges them to make good of a bad situation.

“Yes I’m always confident,” said Jesus [STV].

 

“Sometimes some players that we think will not be first options end up doing well when given a chance.

“Good things come from bad situations.

“I was accustomed from early in this pandemic in Brazil. I had to work with infected players and I started to know this reality.

“It is a situation that can be very complicated for many teams. You don’t know where the virus is and travel is a danger.

“We worked all week thinking about the Rangers game. We have eight players out – but when the options are less, it’s easier to work with what you have.

“But that’s not what I wanted. I wanted to have difficulties, to have doubts about who to play if I had everyone thinking about who was going to start the game.”

SL Benfica v Rangers: Group D - UEFA Europa League

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard will be trying to take full advantage of the Benfica absences. (Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Rangers will scarcely have a better opportunity to stake a claim for supremacy in the group with a Gers win guaranteeing qualification if Standard Liege beat Lech Poznan in Belgium.

According to reports back in Portugal, Jesus may also be required to take drastic action to bring a full squad to Ibrox.

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