The best defences in Spain and England meet on Tuesday as Club Atlético de Madrid host a Chelsea FC side Diego Simeone believes are cut from the same cloth.
Diego Simeone said Club Atlético de Madrid will “take advantage of our strengths and disguise our weaknesses” when the Liga leaders host Chelsea FC. The Argentinian says the team share many qualities, with the best defences in Spain and England, yet José Mourinho is keen to stick to more general terms: any side that reaches a UEFA Champions League semi-final has to be a bit special.
We are not the same teams but we have similar characteristics. We have the best defensive records in our respective leagues, we both have good defences and play a direct attacking game. We’re both also good at set pieces. These characteristics have led to us each fighting for titles. But we will to assess how the season has been at end. We haven’t won anything yet.
We know our strengths and weaknesses: We will try to take advantage of our strengths and disguise our weaknesses. Thibaut Courtois’s state of mind is the same as that of all his team-mates. They are all filled with enthusiasm. They know the importance of this match – not just for them, but for the club.
This is a semi-final and as such it will be a very tight match. It is a game that will be decided by very small details. Teamwork will be all-important in helping to bring out the individual qualities that can decide games. Whoever can do that best will be closer to winning the first leg. I am still thinking about tactics; I want to see how we are in training.
Fernando [Torres] is a kid who this club loves. Torres loves this club and the people here; he has good memories of his time here. Before the match, in the warm-up and at the end I think Torres will receive the ovation that he deserves. He will always be one of us at Atlético.
This is a UEFA Champions League semi-final and you can see [by the amount of people] in the room here that there is a lot of interest in this game. Every player and every manager wants to be involved in a game like this.
I am not here to talk to you about Atlético’s qualities; I have already done that with my players. No team arrives in a UEFA Champions League semi-final without being a very good team and they are no exceptions. To be here they have to be a very good team. We respect them, have studied and analysed them.
I have watched them playing many times. When we got them in the draw, I watched them with keener eyes. I have studied them a lot and have tried to give an idea of what Atlético are about to my players. Any team that is fighting for the championship and in the UEFA Champions League must be an important team.
I don’t know if playing the first leg at home or away is an advantage. It’s difficult for a UEFA Champions League tie to be decided in one game; not impossible, but it is difficult. I like to play without thinking about that aspect too much. We know that Atlético will try everything to win the game but we are going to try to win it too.
I have no unfinished business with Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League. I did my best. I always do my best. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
Atlético have never lost at home to English sides – winning five and drawing four – and while Chelsea have won just three of their previous 14 games away to Liga opposition they drew 2-2 on their only previous visit to the Estadio Vicente Calderón on 3 November 2009.