Diego Simeone praised Lokomotiv Moscow’s experienced head coach Yuri Semin ahead of his Atletico Madrid side’s trip to the Russian capital.
Lokomotiv produced one of the shock results of the opening round of Champions League fixtures, winning 2-1 away to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.
They therefore lead the way in Group D after Atletico came from two goals down late on to draw 2-2 at home to Juventus in their first game.
Semin, 72, is in his fourth spell in charge of Lokomotiv – who he also represented as a player – and he won his third Russian Premier League title with the team in 2017-18.
Atleti head to Moscow with one win from their past five games in all competitions after holding rivals Real Madrid to a 0-0 derby draw in LaLiga at the weekend.
While his side will likely be favourites having hit 11 goals in their three previous games against Lokomotiv, Simeone is taking nothing for granted.
“You see a team that works together, with continuous help in all the spaces of the game,” Simeone told a news conference.
“In Leverkusen they had little possession and led the game forward. They work very well in the spaces.
“It is a team that knows what he wants, a coach with a wonderful history and a strong personality. The team reflects what he wants on the field.
“No one owns the truth in football. All coaches have better ideas, the most beautiful and valuable thing about this game is that we are all right and we don’t have it. In this game, winning or losing takes you to one side or another.
“Teams that have a clear idea of the game like Lokomotiv are dangerous. They know how they play and that is a reference.”
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) September 30, 2019
Koke and Saul Niguez have received some criticism in the opening weeks of the season but Simeone defended the midfield duo.
“It is very difficult to speak with words, we must refer to the facts. After opinions there is everything,” he added.
“But the work, the space they cover, we can then be more successful or not, but they know what it is to play at Atletico Madrid and they are two of the most important players for us.”
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