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Celta Vigo v Atletico Madrid: Simeone expecting complex tie

Diego Simeone does not expect an easy ride when Atletico Madrid face Celta Vigo in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final at Balaidos on Wednesday.

Atletico are looking to reach the semi-final stage of the competition for a third successive season under their Argentine coach.

The Madrid club have been in impressive form in recent months, suffering just one defeat in their last 22 matches in all competitions – a 1-0 loss at Malaga on December 20.

Atletico subsequently sit top of La Liga, two points clear of Barcelona, though the Catalan side hold a game in hand.

Simeone is expected to make a number of changes for the Copa trip to Galicia, but is confident his squad have enough depth to impress in what he believes will be a tricky tie.

“A squad is valued when the guys who do not start the matches resolve good situations for the group. When you have this, there is talk of a good squad,” he said.

“We can have a lot of internal competition, with players that take advantage of their minutes. That is happening and puts us in a good situation.

“The secret is not to think about it [qualifying]. I focus only on approaching the game as if it were the last. Cup ties are always complex, especially against teams like Celta.

“We focus on ourselves. I imagine a similar game – we do not change from one match to another. They may have variations. The other day they played with [Iago] Aspas on the right.”

Celta have not reached the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey since 2000-01 when they finished as runners-up with a 3-1 loss to Real Zaragoza.

The Galician side have lost just two of their last 12 fixtures in all competitions, and come into the match on the back of 4-3 win over Levante on Saturday.

However, coach Eduardo Berizzo says a stronger defensive showing will be needed if they are to have any chance of progressing.

“It will be a tough, tough game. We must be very careful because goals conceded have great significance,” he said.

“You have to know the tie does not just take place in Vigo, but at the Vicente Calderon in seven days too.”

Atletico will be without Lucas Rodriguez (back), Tiago (broken leg) and Fernando Torres (ankle), while Saul and Guilherme Siqueira miss out.

Nolito has stepped up his return from a hamstring injury at Celta but will not play a part on Wednesday, but Claudio Beauvue could be set to make his first appearance after completing his move from Lyon.

Hugo Mallo (illness) is expected to sit out, while Andreu Fontas (tendonitis) and new signing Marcelo Diaz (thigh) are unavailable.

Tue 19 Jan, 2016
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