Diego Simeone, Atlético Madrid's coach, spoke ahead of his side's Champions League semi-final second leg at the Calderón on Wednesday night (kick off 20:45) and said he thought his team could turn around the 3-0 defeat in the first leg last week. And he had little time for fans who don't believe it's possible, saying that everybody is free to believe what they want, but it's clear the Atleti coach feels that if his team get an early goal and have the Calderón behind them, a fightback is a real option.
Atlético Madrid need to defend well
The key for Simeone, with a single Real Madrid goal almost certainly killing the tie off as it would require Atleti to score five, is in "defending well", with the Argentinean arguing that what's vital for his side is to have the possibility of going through open to them for as long as possible.
Simeone said he believed in his players: "I've known them for five years now and I've no doubt we're going to produce a fine game".
Atlético need no motivation against Real Madrid
As to whether his player's needed motivation for the match, Simeone was blunt: "If I needed to motivate them for this game I'd have to leave the club. The motivation is there from the moment you get up and see everything that's at stake. It's not a game like any other. It's a major rival, they beat us 3-0 in the Bernabéu, they've beaten us in two finals, one on penalties, one in the 93rd minute. It's a beautiful challenge".
Tensions high between Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid
Tensions are high between the two sets of fans right now after Real Madrid unveiled a banner before the first leg at the Bernabéu asking Atleti's fans "how it felt" to have lost two finals to them in Lisbon and Milan, but Simeone doesn't have a problem with it: "It's part of the game, people enjoy the competition and the rivalry between two clubs as important on the world stage as Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid. It's part of being involved, it helps you [the press] sell more... we're used to it, and we know once the game starts other things are more important."
Real Madrid on form
Asked about Real Madrid's current situation, with the side on course to win the league and on a 60 game consecutive scoring run, Simeone said, "the statistics are there for everyone to see, the Real Madrid squad is maybe the best in the world, alongside Bareclona's and Bayern's. But we're competing at a level that makes us proud".
Atlético Madrid team against Real Madrid
Finally Simeone gave his thoughts on the team for tomorrow: "We're following the progress of Juanfran, Giménez and Gameiro... but after several months we've got most of the squad available and that's positive for the coach in terms of having the best options for the game".