Benfica boss: Hat-trick hero Joao Felix is no ‘superhero’ yet

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.

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“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.

LISBON, PORTUGAL – APRIL 11: Joao Felix of Benfica celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final First Leg match between Benfica and Eintracht Frankfurt at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on April 11, 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

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