Atletico Madrid manager, Diego Simeone has poured encomiums on Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel for the impact he has made on the London side, ahead of the UEFA Champions League last-16 first leg with the Spanish side on Tuesday.
The last time the Blues met with Atletico Madrid in a European gathering was in December 2017 under Antonio Conte, Atletico’s Stefan Savic(own goal) and Saul scored both goals for each side that ended the UCL group stage tie to a 1-1 stalemate.
The UCL round of 16 match between the sides will be played on neutral ground in Bucharest instead of Wanda Metropolitano in Spain due to the coronavirus travel restrictions, the very first time both coaches will face each other.
Since Tuchel assumed the position as Chelsea’s boss, he has won five matches out of seven (5W, 2D), he has also led his former club, Paris Saints Germain to the UCL final in 2020.
In tandem, Simeone has led his club to the first position in the Spanish La Liga, three points above Real Madrid, and he has also led his side to a UCL final on 2014.
But Argentina’s Diego Simeone has respected the side from Stamford Bridge as a ‘strong team’ with a lot of young players managed by ‘a big coach’
“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,” Diego 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.
He has commended the German coach on his efforts to take Chelsea to the next level following the sack of Frank Lampard. He said the investment made by the club before the start of the season is fast reaching its full potentials
“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’s Luis Suarez will be leading the attack, he has netted 16 league goals to help his side on top of the log. The 50-year-old coach said the Uruguayan gives trust and energy in every game he plays.
“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.”
“We don’t have to talk about things we cannot manage. This is what we are living today.” he said
“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,” he commented on the impact of the pandemic on world football
However, Stefan Savic will be lined up against Chelsea, might face Marcos Alonso. He described the attacking defender as a great player and one of his friends in the round leather game.
“I know Marcos very well, We are speaking about a great player and one of my friends from football. I am glad to see him tomorrow but I hope he will get out from this game a little bit sad because I hope we can win.” he said.
Savic also said that the arrival of Tuchel will lead to a change in tactical approach, especially in the defensive area. He admitted that the match will be a difficult one, but said that the Spanish based side is ready to play the Londoners.
“With the arrival of Tuchel and the change of system, they are playing with three centre-backs and I think they are now dominating more the game and they have positive results from when he came.
“We are expecting a very difficult game because they have a lot of talented, young players. Offensively very good and we know it will be very difficult, but we are ready.” He ended