Atletico play down Liverpool travel issues

Atletico Madrid midfielder Jose Manuel Jurado does not believe Liverpool will show any ill-effects from their gruelling road trip to Spain when the teams clash in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tomorrow night.

Due to the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland that has seen most of Europe's airspace closed in recent days, Liverpool were forced to make an epic 24-hour trip to Madrid that will see the Reds largely travel by land.

Rafael Benitez's side started the 1,300-mile journey yesterday - the day after facing West Ham in the Barclays Premier League at Anfield - with a train to London, followed by the Eurostar to Paris, where they spent the night.

Today Liverpool are scheduled to take another train to Bordeaux before making a short flight to the Spanish capital, where they are due to arrive at lunchtime.

It is not the best of preparations for the five-time European champions, but Jurado doubts the trip will cause any discernible problems for Liverpool tomorrow night.

"I'm sorry that they have to travel so many kilometres to get to Madrid, although I don't think it's something that will be noticed on the pitch," Jurado said.

"I think, more than the journey, they could be more tired because they played on Monday, but in a semi-final like this you don't notice fatigue."

Atletico go into the match having lost four of their last five Primera Division matches - a run that has left them 10th in the standings, nine points off the European places and only eight above the relegation zone.

However, despite their largely miserable league campaign, Atletico still have two chances to pick up their first major silverware since 1996, when they won the league and cup double.

They have already reached the final of the Copa del Rey, where they will face Sevilla next month, and now have the opportunity to make their first major European final since 1986 if they can get past Liverpool.

Jurado admits the semi-final could go either way though, saying: "We are two great teams. The tie is 50-50. We are going to make things difficult for Liverpool, the same as they will try to do for us.

"We have a lot of respect for our opponents, who are one of the greats of Europe and they are dangerous, but we are in the semi-finals and we have to take them on face to face."

He added: "It will be a match of high tension and maximum concentration. We shouldn't be nervous. We have to play and try to enjoy ourselves.

"We have to face a great opponent, but we are also great and that's why we've got to this stage."

Quique Sanchez Flores' men will have to do with suspended striker Sergio Aguero tomorrow night, but Jurado is hoping they can cope without the highly-rated Argentinian.

"The loss of Kun is important because he is a great player and very important for the group, but we will try to ensure his absence on the pitch is noticed as little as possible," he said.

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living