Madrid, March 18 (IANS) Spanish football club Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone on Friday admitted his side had been given a tough draw in the quarter-finals of the Champions League after they were pooled against defending champions FC Barcelona.
“Barcelona are an important rival and they are certainly the best team in the world, but what better for us to be able to face the best in the world? I find that very exciting,” said Simeone afer the draw was announced.
Atletico have lost twice to Barcelona in the league this season and the Atletico coach said the champions have improved in several aspects such as: “they work better at set pieces and counter-attacks, they have Luis Suarez… they are a side that have more options,” he said.
Meanwhile Barcelona’s director of football, Javier Bordas, admitted the reigning champions had been given a tough draw.
“I don’t think we could have got a tougher rival,” he said, describing Atletico as “the side which defends best in the competition and we know it is going to be really hard.”
“Everything about Atletico Madrid is tough: everyone talks about their defence, but they also do a lot of damage in attack,” he added.
“There were easier sides but if you want to win the Champions League you have to beat them all,” concluded Bordas.
Spain’s other club Real Madrid were luckier in the draw and will face Germany’s VFL Wolfsburg in the last eight, although Real Madrid director of institutional relations Emilio Butragueno was at pains to play down talk of favouritism.
“The word ‘favourite’ is dangerous,” he said.
“Wolfsburg are a German side and they will have maximum motivation. We will have to play very well because we all know what it means to make a mistake in Europe,” he said.