Favourites Atletico wary of PSV's counter-attack threat

Atlético Madrid boss Diego Simeone has warned of PSV Eindhoven's threat on the counter-attack as the Spanish side seek to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the third consecutive season.


Atletico coach Diego Simeone at the official pre-match conference Source: AAP

The tie is goalless ahead of PSV's trip to the Vicente Calderon, where Atletico have only conceded in three of 14 Champions League games under Simeone.

However, the Argentine is wary that with a full house of 55,000 expected to put the onus on Atletico to attack, they could be caught out by a vital away goal for the Dutch champions.

"I think that PSV's best quality is the counter-attack," Simeone said. "With spaces they work very well and have players that arrive late into the box."

Atletico will be close to full-strength- with Stefan Savic and Tiago unavailable - while Fernando Torres has shrugged off the knee injury that saw him miss the 3-0 weekend win over Deportivo La Coruna.

"I hope to be ready for Tuesday. The most important thing is to get through in the Champions League and all my thoughts are focused on that," Torres told www.abc.es.

However, the former Liverpool and Chelsea striker is expected to start on the bench with Yannick Carrasco and Luciano Vietto set to partner Atletico's top scorer Antoine Griezmann in attack.

Atletico captain Gabi admitted progress once more to the last eight is vital to the club's growth since Simeone's arrival four years ago.

"Tomorrow is decisive and we have the obligation to get the result we need in front of our fans," he said.

"We know what is at stake for the fans and the club. Our progress in this competition is very important and we are in great form heading into tomorrow."

Atletico have lost only twice in 27 European home games in front of their own fans while in their last 15 competitive games at the Calderon, Diego Simeone's men have recorded 12 wins and suffered only one defeat.

Meanwhile, PSV coach Phillip Cocu feels the Dutch giants have a good chance of getting past Atleti.

"The great atmosphere can give us a power boost. In this stage of European football, all the stadiums where you play will be impressive in talks of ambiance," Cocu said.

"We want to silence the fans of Atletico with playing good football.

"We feel good after Ajax drew with NEC, but no we are not thinking about the Eredivisie because we have to concentrate on the Champions League. We have a good chance to reach the quarter-finals.

"Atletico are favourites because of their home advantage. It will be difficult, but it is not impossible to go through."

Cocu, who welcomes back top scorer Luuk de Jong but will be without Uruguayan striker Gaston Pereiro after he was sent off in the first leg, added: "I have watched a lot of Atletico games, but we have our way of playing and we are going to fight for the objective in hand.

"It won't be easy, away from home, but we have to believe. That game [against Celta] is an example that it can be achieved."

PSV's Andres Guardado said his side will be motivated rather than frightened by the challenge.

"We know that it's complicated but we're hoping to get through," Guardado told reporters on PSV's arrival in Madrid.

"We're going to try to make things difficult for Atletico Madrid, a team who are fighting against two of the best sides in the world, not just Spain, in Real Madrid and Barcelona.

"But more than scaring us, it motivates us to play against an opponent like Atleti, at the Calderon with a special atmosphere."

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4 min read
Published 15 March 2016 at 4:13am
Source: PA Sport