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Simeone dismisses pitch concerns

Diego Simeone will not use Astana’s artificial pitch as an excuse should Atletico Madrid fail to win what he called “the most decisive” game remaining in their Champions League group stage campaign.

Atletico head to Kazakhstan on top of Pool C having claimed six points from their three games – including a 4-0 thrashing of Astana at Estadio Vicente Calderon last time out.

Simeone’s men will encounter very different conditions at the Astana Arena – including a synthetic playing surface – but the Argentine expects his players to cope well as they seek a win that could put them on the brink of qualification.

He said told a news conference on Monday: “When we were children we played on the street – on tarmac and things like that. Artificial pitches are just one more condition for us, like sun, wind or snow; we should be able to deal with such conditions.

“What I like about Astana is that they play as a single unit, regardless of how they are set up tactically. Tomorrow we will face a serious opponent at their ground.

“I have no doubt that, of the three games that are left, this is the most decisive. But we are hoping to build on what we’ve done in the previous matches.”

Striker Fernando Torres is not expecting an easy encounter on Tuesday despite the comprehensive win against Stanimir Stoilov’s side a fortnight ago.

“We play at their stadium and they will surely feel more confident. Nobody should think that because of the result at the Calderon we’re going to face an easy match,” he said.

Mon 2 Nov, 2015
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