Manger quotes, player quotes, team news and prediction ahead of Manchester the Champions league clash between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea.
What the managers are saying:
Atletico Madrid Manager, Diego Simone: “We are not thinking about any other game apart from this one. We know our strengths and our weaknesses. We will try to take advantage of our strengths and disguise our weaknesses. We are not the same teams but we have similar characteristics. We are both the least-scored-against teams in our respective leagues, we both have good defences and we both play a direct attacking game.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho [on who is a better coach]: “It is difficult to compare coaches; in fact it is not fair to do so. It is not fair to compare someone with 15 years of experience as a coach to one with less than that. It is something that I don’t like to do.”
What the players are saying:
Atletico Madrid goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois: “I want to win trophies here and I’ll be an Atleti supporter for these two games, but at all other times I’m a Chelsea fan too. I hope they win the Premier League, just not these two (Champions League) matches. I really hope we can reach the final as we’re so close. They’re the favourites (Chelsea), but (beaten quarter-final opponents) Barca (Barcelona) were too.”
Chelsea defender David Luiz: ‘I want to be a champion at the Estadio da Luz but first we have a match tomorrow and hopefully another match in the future. We are all enthusiastic, playing in a semi-final is important for all. Atletico have great history and have won many titles. It’s a dream to play in a semi-final, I was lucky enough to play [in the final] two years ago and I’m still thirsty for it. Everybody has a dream, tomorrow will be a great game and I’m privileged to play in such big matches. I think we have a great team, we’ve managed to reach the semi-final, we all want to win and let’s hope we can get to the final.’
Atletico Madrid v Chelsea Team New
Chelsea will be without the suspended Branislav Ivanovic for the game with Ashley Cole and David Luiz favourites to come into the side in his absence. Eden Hazard has travelled but may not play as he continues to struggle with a calf injury sustained in the quarter-final win over PSG while Samuel Eto’o has been ruled out with a knee injury meaning that Fernando Torres could feature against his old club. Nemanja Matic and Mo Salah are both ineligible for the tie.
Atletico meanwhile will have Ardan Turan available following a groin injury while on-loan Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is set to face his parent club.
Atletico showed their pedigree in the last round as they knocked out European and La Liga heavyweights Barcelona progressing 2-1 on aggregate. The club are unbeaten in this year’s competition with only Barca and Zenith managing preventing them from victories. Diego Simone’s men breezed through the group stages, winning 5 and drawing 1 and they carried that form into the last 16 clash with AC Milan running out 5-1 aggregate winners.
Chelsea meanwhile have more stumbled into the semi-finals. Jose Mourinho’s men have already lost 3 times in this seasons competitions although they have shown their metal and tactical know how on each occasion they have lost none more so than the in the quarter-final win over PSG. Trailing 3-1 from the first leg Chelsea overcame the loss of their talisman Eden Hazard to beat the French side 2-0 and advance.
This tie is very difficult to call as it pits one of Europe’s most promising managers against one of the best. The physical style of Atletico will suit Chelsea’s way of playing and it is very hard to see goals in either of these games. Chelsea experience on the big stage should help and an away draw looks an enticing prospect.