Simeone on the sidelines in Atlético's recent win over Granada / PHOTO: WWW.CLUBATLETICODEMADRID.COM

[[DES_1]]Atlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone cast an eye over Wednesday’s Spanish Cup quarter-final against FC Barcelona in his appearance before the press on Tuesday. The Argentinian was generous in his praise for Luis Enrique’s side yet at the same time he remained upbeat about his side’s chances in the tie.

On the recent league defeat at Camp Nou:“We have to start the game better than we did, because our beginning was not good. We didn’t play with our usual intensity and pressure. Against an opponent like Barça, who played really well in the opening half hour, we had problems.”

The importance of the first leg: “We are coming up against a Barcelona in form at the moment. I value a lot how they have improved without the ball. That’s an important area for them. They have a lot of attacking options and when the ball is lost they react quickly and that doesn’t give you much chance to bring it out. It’s clear that it will be 90 very tough minutes and every minute that goes by will be important with regards to the second leg.”

On whether stopping Messi will be vital: “The key will be understanding how and where to attack. If we can take the game to where we want to go and attack where we want to then we have a chance.”

On the difference in style between Real Madrid and Barça: “[Real] Madrid and Barcelona have extraordinary qualities. Perhaps one side is stronger in spaces, whereas Barcelona are much more dangerous in confined spaces. While against Barcelona you are closer to your own goal and there is more risk that they can combine and form triangles that surprise you day after day.”

Atlético squad for the first leg at Camp Nou

 Moyá, Oblak, Godín, Siqueira, Gámez, Juanfran, Miranda, Giménez, Mario, Koke, Raúl García, Arda, Gabi, Saúl, Griezmann, Mandzukic, Raúl Jiménez and Fernando Torres