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Midfield battle crucial, says Simeone

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says his team must control midfield if they are to beat Sevilla in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says his team must control midfield if they are to beat Sevilla in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Atletico travel to Sevilla’s Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Wednesday holding a 2-1 lead from the first leg courtesy of two Diego Costa penalties.

Sevilla did register what could prove to be an important away goal though, through a spot kick of their own from Alvaro Negredo.

And Simeone knows Atletico must attempt to dominate possession if they are to book a final against local rivals Real Madrid.

“In order to progress to the final of the cup, we need to keep going and we need to keep our intensity throughout the match,” he said.

“We need to manage the midfield from the start and make sure we have control. I think this will be the difference between the two sides.

“The team which maintains control of the midfield is going to have more chances because each team have really good forward players. Whichever team makes better use of their chances will reach the final.”

Despite trailing in the tie, Sevilla coach Unai Emery believes his side and Atletico are evenly matched, and he remains confident of winning through to the decider on May 18.

“Both teams have had similar results these past few years as we all have seen, but this season Atletico are showing what they are capable of,” he said.

“They are second in the La Liga table and that’s thanks to their good skills and their good shape.

“With all due respect I think that the match tomorrow will be 50-50 in every way because; we are playing at home, the tie is very close and despite the advantage they have over us in La Liga, this is the Copa del Rey. This is only one match, so anything can happen.”

Wed 27 February, 2013
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