Simeone makes bold Chelsea squad claim ahead of UCL clash

Date published: Tuesday 23rd February 2021 10:48

Tuchel Simeone

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has heaped praise on Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg, claiming players that don’t even make the Blues first team “can very well play in any team in Europe.”

The tie will take place in Bucharest instead of Madrid due to coronavirus travel restrictions and will see the Argentinian face the German for the first time in a competitive fixture.


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Since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge last month he has guided the Blues to five wins out of seven in all competitions, and also led former club Paris St Germain to the final of the Champions League in August.

“We just have to make a good game against a very big team, with a new coach, a very big coach and an important one that did his job everywhere he went to,” Simeone said.

“Chelsea is a very strong club, they develop every time and every year. They bring a lot of new players and invest in young players.

“When they didn’t see the investment and it didn’t pay, they had that change. They brought Tuchel but it is a really big team and since he came he put a good change in the numbers.

“Just look at what players they have at goalkeeper, at striker and everyone who is on the bench can very well play in any team in Europe.”

Atletico are not blessed with such luxuries but made a key addition during the summer when they convinced Luis Suarez to join from LaLiga rivals Barcelona.

The ex-Liverpool striker has repaid the faith of Simeone with 16 goals to fire them to the top of the table.

“It is very important the presence of Luis Suarez in every competition, not just in the Champions League because he gives energy, he gives trust,” the 50-year-old added.

“All the opponents are really paying a lot of attention to him because this is a man who is scoring. Of course he is important every day.”

Chelsea will be without Thiago Silva but Simeone played down any advantage that will give to his team.

Atletico will be in unfamiliar surroundings despite this being a home tie, with the fixture to go ahead at the Arena Nationala following Spanish government restrictions on travellers entering the country from England.

Simone insisted: “We don’t have to talk about things we cannot manage. This is what we are living today.

“There are a lot of difficulties for many people, many hard workers and we just love football so this is what we have to do. This is where we have to play and we just have to concentrate on the game that we have here.”

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