Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone believes that his side will have to play much better than they did against Manchester United in order to beat Manchester City. The Los Rojiblancos have had an inconsistent season thus far but face Pep Guardiola’s side in the Champions League quarter-final.
With Atletico Madrid sitting fourth in the La Liga despite winning the title last term, few have given them a chance at doing anything beyond producing a good run in the Champions League. But somehow, the Los Rojiblancos have managed to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament and face Manchester City. That combined with their upturn in form and the fact that Diego Simeone’s side beat Manchester United in the Round of 16, has seen their odds go up.
Even then, City are the favourites to win the trophy and it does offer Simeone’s side another challenge although with the form that Pep Guardiola's side are in, the Los Rojiblancos will have their work cut out for them. However, Diego Simeone believes that he will need his team to improve their performances as compared to their showing against United, in order to beat City. Not only that, he added that Guardiola’s team are a better side and a side that keeps evolving which makes it tougher to beat them.
“United had different characteristics. They are a lot more direct, a lot quicker. City are more positional – they manage things very well all over the pitch. We’ll have to be better than we were three weeks ago. What I like most about teams like City is the strength and effort they put into winning the ball back and continuing to attack,” Simeone said, reported the Guardian.
“They’re lovely to watch. They continue evolving. They have great players. [Raheem] Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, they’re always active, they always run. They never leave a ball lost. That’s additional to their talent. All managers want that.”
The Cityzens are the favourites, alongside Bayern Munich and Chelsea, to lift the Champions League crown this season and there is more pressure on them. But Simeone believes that while both City and Real Madrid do have pressure on them because of their squads, he also admitted that there is pressure on all the remaining teams. Not only that, the Atletico Madrid boss added that his team need to compete and play the best way they can to beat their opponents.
“I don’t know if pressure is the correct word. It’s a bit exaggerated. Each one of us has it. City possess extraordinary players. They have better players than us, I am sure. But there are two games to play. City and Bayern [Munich] are favourites because of their players but last season Chelsea won [the competition] – not many expected that. All of us who are at this point want to win it. You have to compete.
“City and Madrid have great squads. They’ve got a lot of personality and tomorrow is for the players. We try to help them so they can respond in the best way possible. We’re going to play where we think we can hurt them. The way we’ve been playing for years. We’ll see,” he added.