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Atletico not favourites for Gala clash – Simeone

Diego Simeone refused to suggest Atletico Madrid are favourites for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Galatasaray but promised his will approach the game with aggression.

The 2014 finalists will be heavily fancied to progress from Group C, ahead of further games with Astana and Benfica, having also reached the quarter-finals of the competition last season.

Atleti – La Liga champions as recently as the 2013-14 campaign – make the often difficult trip to the Turk Telekom Arena, with Simeone warning of the threat Gala will pose.

“We couldn’t describe ourselves as favourites,” he said on Monday.

“A team’s quality and momentum are the decisive factors in the Champions League. It is a very important and difficult competition.

“At this level it is hard to say that any team is favourite for a particular game, especially when it is thought that we will play against a 55,000 crowd tomorrow.

“Therefore, in the first minutes, we will try to play much more aggressively. We will try to control the game with this tactic.

“All teams have different motivations for the UEFA Champions League. Gala [are] going to play better than their previous [league] games. They have a big player such as a [Lukas] Podolski.”

Simeone saw his side beaten for the first time in the league this term on Saturday, going down to Spanish and European champions Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon.

“We are working step-by-step to reach the ideal starting line-up. Galatasaray are very effective in attack,” he added, suggesting Jackson Martinez and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco could feature.

“[Carrasco and Martinez] are taking it day by day. As you know, we are going to play a lot of competitions this year. That’s why I must give a chance to new players.”

Mon 14 Sep, 2015
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