Diego Simeone is confident Atletico Madrid know what to expect from Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday but noted “one minute on the pitch will be a lifetime” for his players.
Atletico travel to Camp Nou on Tuesday for the first leg of the all-Spanish quarter-final against the Liga leaders, who have a six-point lead over Simeone’s men in the title race.
Simeone anticipates a gruelling encounter across the two matches, and expects the ‘MSN’ trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez to be decisive in deciding the tie.
“Both teams know each other very well, so I don’t think there is much room for surprise,” Simeone said in his pre-match news conference.
“They play a specific type of football and they play spectacularly well under Luis Enrique.
“I don’t think Barcelona’s [Clasico] defeat by Real Madrid [on Saturday] will affect our game. We always expect the best of Barcelona. They will definitely be up for it, playing at home. They are strong, tough opponents.
“We are used to seeing the ‘MSN’, with all the individual qualities that make Barcelona even better.
“Hopefully they will face the best of us as well. It is important that all my players understand that one minute on the pitch will be a lifetime.”
Stefan Savic will return to boost Atletico’s injury-ravaged squad, while captain Diego Godin is set to start alongside him after recovering from a thigh injury.
“I worked hard so I could return as soon as possible and be fit for tomorrow,” said Godin. “I’m 100 per cent ready for tomorrow.
“I am really looking forward to this game and I would love to win this tie. We are all thrilled about playing in this competition.
“We are in a different place compared to the matches we played against them two years ago in the Champions League.
“Today everything is different, it’s just another challenge and we are really looking forward to this challenge.”
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