Simeone: “PSV are brave going forward and great to watch”
Atlético Madrid take on the Eredivisie leaders in the Philips Stadion on Wednesday night. The rojiblanco manager has told his players to keep an eye on former Depor man Andrés Guardado.
Atlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone knows the Champions League probably represents his side's best chance of winning a trophy this season but he is sticking to his favoured mantra of 'one game at a time'.
The Spanish side are in the Netherlands for the first leg of their last-16 tie against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, driven in their quest for European success by their agonising defeat to city rivals Real Madrid in the 2014 final.
Atlético lie second in La Liga, but trail leaders Barcelona by eight points, while they are the favourites to progress to the quarter-finals in Europe ahead of the game at the Philips Stadion.
“To reach a final you have less games to play than to win a league and after being as close as we were (in 2014) the objectives become bigger, but we must not forget to go one game at a time”, Simeone said.
Atlético have lost just once in nine matches in La Liga since Christmas, and that came away at Barcelona. Their biggest strength has been their rock solid defence, as shown in their 0-0 draw with Villarreal on Sunday.
“The team is in a good moment. We have had two wins in a row followed by a draw against one of our rivals”, added the Argentinian, whose team have a huge match away to cross-town rivals Real Madrid on Saturday.
“This is a difficult run of games. PSV will be tough opponents and they are physically very strong. I like what I have seen of them, but we go into the game with enthusiasm”.
PSV qualified from their group at the expense of Manchester United and are on course to retain the Dutch title, sitting a point clear of Ajax at the top of the table.
Their coach, the former Barcelona midfielder Philip Cocu, has urged his side to make sure they avoid conceding an away goal before the second leg at the Vicent Calderon next month.
“They have a clear style of play. Would I settle for a 0-0 draw? Keeping a clean sheet could be very important”, he said.
“Atletico have a consistent side, they're a great team unit, they won't give anything away. They always play the same way -- they are winners and they play a compact game despite a busy fixture list”.
PSV's hopes of breaking down the away defence are not helped by the absence of leading scorer Luuk de Jong due to suspension.Atlético are without Yannick Carrasco and Tiago Mendes but Simeone says Augusto Fernandez is physically ready to return after several weeks out injured.
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