Atletico coach Diego Simeone said one moment could change everything as his team look to turn around their Copa del Rey quarterfinal tie at home to Barcelona in Wednesday’s second leg.
Barca travel to the Estadio Vicente Calderon having won last week’s first leg 1-0 thanks to Lionel Messi’s late penalty, with Blaugrana fans and pundits confident their men can score at least one away goal and securely progress to the last four.
The Colchoneros coach told his pre-match news conference that his side’s quick start in their Copa last-16 second leg at Real Madrid showed how completely situations could change within games.
“You can turn the game around if you want to,” Simeone said. “The other day at the Bernabeu we were 1-0 ahead after 30 seconds. That can change everything. We are behind on the scoreboard. We hope to get comfortable in the game. We know what games we want to play, and how we will look for it. You must live every moment as if it were the last of the game. That way we will be closer to our objective. Playing against them you cannot let your mind wander.”
Barca’s last visit to the Calderon was during the 2013-14 Champions League, when Atletico won 1-0 to reach the semifinals. Simeone said this was a less high-profile occasion, while saying he liked Atletico to pit their wits against the best.
“It is different from the champions league game at the Calderon,” he said. “It is a quarterfinal, it is the Copa, there is a long way until the final. The atmosphere will be nice, as it always is in these games. To have Madrid and then Barcelona is nice, it improves the team. The only way to get closer to them is to compete with them. To take on the best teams, that makes you better. I hope tomorrow we can make a jump in quality.”
Barca could not beat Atletico in six meetings during the 2013-14 campaign, but have beaten Simeone’s side twice during recent weeks. The Argentine pointed to some improvements in the Camp Nou outfit under coach Luis Enrique this season.