Athletico Madrid Will be Cautious of the Foxes When the Two Face off
Today will be a fierce encounter in England when the Foxes of Leicester City take on an Athletico side that has been to the UEFA Champions League twice and not won it.
Diego Simeone will hoping that his troops will give it their all to force a way into the Champions League semi finals.
The first leg ended in favor of Athletico thanks to a penalty by Antoine Griezman that gave Athletico a 1-0 lead.
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Simeone is one of Spanish football’s more articulate coaches and ‘Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take up arms against a sea of troubles’ sounds like one of his rousing team-talks. But he is likely to be saving his big numbers for a potential meeting with a Bayern Munich or a Real Madrid in the semi-finals.
The feeling around the club for this game is that his team just need to be calm and patient to get the job done.
There is no shortage of respect. As Diego Godin’s interview with Sportsmail on Monday makes plain they rate Jamie Vardy very highly and are well aware that his quiet first-leg showing only came about because they dealt with his threat so well.
They know they will have to do so again.
‘They are nearly at the level they were last season’ Diego Simeone said of Leicester in Monday’s press conference.
The Atletico coach will also want his side to be patient. Another thing that was mentioned in that press conference was just how much the away-goals rule helps teams playing the second leg away from home.
Simeone has complained about it in the past but tonight it will actually be in his favour.
‘I don’t understand why the visiting team in the second leg potentially has 30 extra minutes with the away-goal rule on their side,’ he said. ‘In the past it has worked against us but now it is in our favour.’
With the result also in their favour, respect and patience will be the watchwords for the visitors. They will not chase the game and they will certainly not fall into the trap that Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla have done by defending high and leaving space in behind for Vardy to run into.
Atletico’s overall record in England is not good. They have only won two of their European games here with four defeats and four draws. But this Atletico is a very different team to past sides. And one of those two wins came against Leicester in 1997 anyway so the omens are not all bad.
What Atletico probably will not want is penalties. They have the 1-0 advantage because of the spot-kick in the first leg but in general their record this season is appalling.
They have missed their last six in La Liga with six different players failing and in total they have failed to score eight of the 13 penalties they have been awarded this season.
There is a quiet confidence that it will not come to that. Simeone’s Atletico have never been knocked out after winning the first leg. Godin let out the battle cry on Monday: ‘We need a cold head and a hot heart’.
Not quite Shakespeare but they are confident it will be enough to see off the Premier League champions.
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Source: Daily Mail
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a Ugandan writer and blogger. Studied information technology with major interests in Journalism.He is passionate about sports but at times ventures into other fields
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