Atlético Madrid will have to be at the top of their game in order to overcome Valencia at Mestalla on Saturday after the hosts were impressive in claiming a draw away to Real Madrid two weeks ago, coach Diego Simeone said in Friday’s press conference.
While Madrid missed a host of chances to win the game at the Santiago Bernabéu, Marcelino’s side exposed the flaws in the champions’ defence and will provide a stern test for Atlético, according to Simeone.
“They’re coming off the back of an impressive game at the Bernabéu which was very even, the manager has always competed very well, and the team is actually very similar to ours,” Simeone said.
Los rojiblancos head into the game having recovered well from an opening day horror show against Girona to hammer Las Palmas 5-1, and the Argentine said the squad will have to perform to its potential in order to claim the three points on Saturday.
El Cholo heaped praise on his opposite number Marcelino, who he said has always caused problems for his Atlético sides.
“I identify a lot with his style of play and the way his teams show,” Simeone added. “He has always caused us problems and tomorrow I imagine it will be another complicated game.”
Simeone, who just this week signed a new contract with the club to keep him in the Spanish capital to 2020, gave little clue about how his side will line up in the encounter.
“We have a competitive squad,” he said. “The young guys and the others are at a good level, and for me I have to look at who will be best suited to each particular game according to their characteristics.
“There are a lot of games coming up and we will need everyone to be available for whatever the team needs.”
The Argentine also brushed off suggestions that the match will be made more difficult by the conditions, with kick off at 16:15 in the Valencia sunshine.
“We have to play, rain, hail or shine, whatever it is,” Simeone said. “When you play with your friends in the park you don’t think about this. Tomorrow there will be a full stadium, it’s a big game and we have to play.”