Gaitan: Manchester United are a great club but speculation will not affect my Benfica performances

The Argentine is also confident that the Portuguese club are a threat in Europe and can eliminate Chelsea from the Champions League
By Francisco Delgado

Benfica winger Nicolas Gaitan has told that Manchester United are "a great club" but insists he is unfazed by speculation linking him with a move to Old Trafford this summer.

Manchester City are also reportedly in the running to sign the 24-year-old, who signed a new five-year contract with the Portuguese club in October, which includes a €48 million (£40m) release clause.

"Every now and again I am linked to a big club in the Premier League. I am used to the rumours by now and it doesn't affect my work at Benfica," Gaitan told

"Manchester United? A great club, what more can I say?"

The Argentina international is set to face Chelsea on Tuesday evening for Benfica's Champions League quarter-final first-leg tie, but despite Roberto Di Matteo's encouraging start at Stamford Bridge, Gaitan believes his side have nothing to fear.

"This year we have already knocked out Manchester United when everyone had the English team as favourites. Why shouldn't we be able to repeat the story against Chelsea?" Gaitan said.

"Chelsea have improved over the last few weeks with the change of coach, but Benfica aren't worried about that. We just want to take advantage of our chances and we are optimistic. Chelsea are not invincible and we have the ability to get through this tie.

"The normal thing would be for the tie to be decided in London but Benfica want to go there with a good result so they suffer more than they did against Napoli."

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus also insisted his side will pose a threat to Di Matteo's men after responding to a video aired on Chelsea's television station which appeared to show Didier Drogba feigning fear after being told he will face the Portuguese club at the quarter-final stage.

Contrary to the Ivorian's apparent reaction over playing Benfica, Gaitan believes Chelsea will treat their first-leg tie with caution.

"I don't think Chelsea will come to Lisbon over-confident because if that's the case, it will increase our chances of getting through to the semi-finals of the Champions League," he said.

"At this stage of the competition, there are no favourites and every knockout match will be hard-fought and very tough. The history of each club doesn't matter now, only the football played on the pitch.

"We have to maintain our rhythm and the system we have used so far in Europe. We don't have to change things just because we are up against Chelsea."

Gaitan also dismissed the inconsistent form of Fernando Torres and Drogba in recent weeks, and is adamant the duo can still pose a threat in Lisbon.

"Scoring will be the key. We have to make the most of our goalscoring opportunities and also stop them from scoring. That's the key to advancing in the Champions League," he added.

"Do Chelsea have a goalscoring crisis? With strikers like Drogba and Torres they can score at any moment."

Benfica head into the tie with Chelsea off the back of a 0-0 stalemate against Olhanense on Friday, which could prove costly in the Portuguese title race as Porto also dropped points, while Braga moved into top spot following a 2-1 victory over Academica on Monday.

"The draw at the weekend won't have any [negative] influence on Tuesday's game," said Gaitan.

"We are angry at having dropped two points in the race for the title and that will be another incentive in the game against Chelsea.

"Benfica are enjoying a great season, but we still haven't won anything and we are now entering into the most decisive moments where we cannot afford to slip up."