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Simeone: Atletico happy to be Copa underdogs

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone insists Real Madrid are favourites to win the Copa del Rey final on Friday.

While Real are looking to claim a 19th Copa del Rey crown, Atletico are aiming for their 10th and first major domestic trophy since 1996.

Simeone believes Atletico’s city rivals are the superior side but said it was an open game which either team could win.

“We can’t afford to make any mistakes against them. They’re better, without doubt, but everything changes in one game – anything’s possible,” he told reporters.

“We’re a side who play with commitment and humility and in the world nowadays, where everything is tough, I’d compare us to the people out there. Everything is tough.

“I’m expecting a game that will follow certain characteristics. Our rivals are quick and difficult to contain with three quarters of the pitch in front of them, but we’re also dangerous playing in space.

“The team that successfully manages to link up between midfield and attack will be closer to victory. That’s the way the game will go.”

Real are unbeaten in their past 25 matches against Atletico, whose last victory over their rivals was in October 1999.

Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao said he was unfazed by who assumed the favourites’ tag.

“I think people say Real Madrid are the favourites because they have a big budget. They have top players, but we are not angry about that because we will play our own game and we have faith in ourselves,” he said.

“I don’t care about people talking about which team is favourite. I am not interested in hearing that.”

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos desperately wants his side to win a trophy to salvage something from a disappointing season, which has seen them miss out in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.

Jose Mourinho’s future as coach is uncertain and there have been rumours of in-fighting at Real, but Ramos is focused on the cup.

“I don’t care about the rumours and speculation surrounding the club. The most important thing is Real Madrid and how the team performs,” Ramos said.

“You have to be focused when you are playing for a trophy. We have been training for this opportunity for a few weeks, and we will try everything to get the win and add another title to our record.”

Fri 17 May, 2013
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