Bruno Lage has warned against branding Joao Felix a “superhero” following the teenager’s record-breaking treble in Benfica’s 4-2 Europa League win against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Felix’s profile reached even greater heights on Thursday night by becoming the Europa League’s youngest player to score a hat-trick at 19 years and 152 days.
The previous record holder was Dinamo Zagreb’s Marko Pjaca at 19 years and 219 days during a match against Scottish champions Celtic in 2014.
Felix, who was only promoted to Benfica’s first-team last year, put the Eagles ahead in the 21st-minute with a penalty after Frankfurt’s Evan N’Dicka received a red card for conceding it.
Despite the ever-prolific Luka Jovic equalising for the Germans, Benfica soon got back in the lead through another goal from Felix before Ruben Dias’ header put them 3-1 ahead.
Felix then completed his treble, with Mendes Paciencia grabbing a late second consolation goal for Frankfurt.
Speaking after winning the first-leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie 4-2, however, Benfica manager Lage warned against burdening the young Felix with big expectations.
“Do not make him a superhero,” Lage told Sport TV.
“Joao may no longer [seem] normal, but he is. He’s a quiet kid. He goes out and has fun as if he was playing in a park.
“We have to give him peace of mind to grow. Then he will delight us.
“When he’s even more consistent, he will be a fantastic player.”
The Portuguese forward has been tipped for a great future by the likes of Jose Mourinho on the back of a stunning campaign for Benfica.
Even Frankfurt boss Adi Hutter was full of praise for the youngster himself after seeing him in action on Thursday in Portugal.
“Joao Felix is a very intelligent player, who finishes play and creates. Benfica are very lucky to have him,” said Hutter.
“He’s a rare talent. In the second leg we will have to pay attention to him, but Benfica are not just one player.
“We have to play a perfect match at home, but I believe we can overcome Benfica. I was curious to know what it would have been like if we played with 11 men until the end.
“The two-goal difference leaves everything open for the second leg. Let’s see what the result is, in a week’s time, in Frankfurt.”
Felix has managed 15 goals and seven assists in 36 appearances for Benfica this season.