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Simeone pledges to chase victory at Allianz Arena

Diego Simeone insists Atletico Madrid will play to win at Bayern Munich despite their advantage heading into the Champions League semi-final second leg.

Saul Niguez’s sublime solo effort set up Atleti for a typically battling 1-0 win in last week’s reverse contest at Vicente Calderon.

Simeone’s side are a formidable defensive unit, having conceded only 16 goals in 36 Liga matches this season, but the Argentine coach is not willing to rest on a slender advantage at the Allianz Arena.

“I do not have any shame to acknowledge that I have fear – now and before every game,” he told a pre-match news conference.

“Let’s go out and win. We know that the draw gets us through but we cannot think of staying in it. Winning is the essence of the game.”

Much has been made of the contrast between Atletico’s obdurate and clinical style and the methodical dominance of possession espoused by the likes of Bayern and Barcelona, whose downfall Simeone masterminded in the previous round.

The Atleti boss refused to fire any barbs in the direction of Bayern boss Pep Guardiola and declined to become bogged down in discussions of tactical systems.

“First of all, I am very respectful of everyone’s views. We all have reasons and there are different ways of playing football,” he added.

“Football is a fantastic sport. There are a variety of ways to play it. It depends on the players you have at your disposal. It is great for me to be here and working with this squad.

“My goal is to empower players, the playing system. My greatest pride is to empower the players I have, not our ideas.

“In the first leg we played in a way that feels good for us. Tomorrow we will see how strong both Bayern and ourselves are. I don’t think there is any extra pressure on Bayern.

“The only way to be peaceful is to be ourselves. It is the most reassuring thing that I can tell the fans.”

Simeone gave little away on whether influential defender Diego Godin would return from a hamstring injury but praised the performances of fellow centre-backs Jose Gimenez, Stefan Savic and Lucas Hernandez this season.

“We are fortunate to have four major centre-backs,” he added. “Godin’s presence is very important but the form of Gimenez, Hernandez and Savic gives us security.”

Mon 2 May, 2016
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