Atletico Madrid v AC Milan: Mario Balotelli and Milan's attacking nature can be exploited, says Diego Simeone
The Spanish side lead 1-0 from the first leg
Tuesday 11 March 2014
Controlling the midfield will be crucial if Atletico Madrid are to protect their 1-0 advantage tonight at home to Milan, coach Diego Simeone said yesterday.
Seeking a place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 1997, when Simeone was an Atletico player, Madrid’s second club lead the seven-times European champions thanks to Diego Costa’s header seven minutes from time, in last month’s first leg at the San Siro. Simeone said yesterday, before the return at the Calderon, that Milan would be forced to go on the attack as they try to avoid a trio of exits in Spain following defeats to Barcelona in the last eight in 2011-12 and the last 16 last season.
“We have to contain and control the game,” Simeone, who had playing stints with Milan’s city rivals Internazionale and fellow Serie A side Lazio, said. “The clash will depend on the intensity we produce in the midfield.
“An open game will better suit Milan. They are an attacking team given the characteristics of their players. We need to make the most of the space they give us.”
Simeone said he expected a tough test for his players even though Milan are struggling in their domestic league. Clarence Seedorf was brought in to replace the sacked Massimiliano Allegri as coach in January but the former Milan, Real Madrid and Netherlands midfielder has yet to revive the club’s fortunes and they remain stalled in mid-table.
“It is a very powerful institution,” said Simeone, who was well acquainted with Seedorf, six years his junior, from their shared time in Italy and Spain as players.
“They are used to this competition and they have players with a lot of talent. I expect the best version of Milan. It will be a difficult game because there is a lot at stake. And that is when the great players step up irrespective of their current situation.”
Latest in Sport
Arsene Wenger 18th anniversary at Arsenal: His WORST signings XI during his time with the Gunners
18 things Wenger has still never done at Arsenal
Arsene Wenger's worst signings XI
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Nani: On loan Sporting Lisbon winger admits he may not return to Manchester United
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol