Simeone tells players to seize the moment

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April 14, 2015 08:05:27 UK

Diego Simeone will tell his Atletico Madrid players to use last season’s heart-breaking Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid as motivation.

The two Spanish capital rivals clash at Vicente Calderon in the first leg on Tuesday of what is shaping up to be a compelling last-eight double-header.

“What happened in the past is over. We have a great chance to do something important…”

Diego Simeone

Rojiblancos were heading for a first Champions League title last May until Spain defender Sergio Ramos headed an injury-time leveller that set Carlo Ancelotti’s title-chasers up for a 4-1 extra-time victory.

The reigning La Liga champions have not lost in normal time in six derby meetings against Los Blancos since the setback and coach Simeone says his players have a chance to finally banish the disappointment on the big stage.

“That [comparisons to last season’s final] is normal, for both sides,” he told reporters on Monday.

“[But] we need to focus on what is going to happen tomorrow. What happened in the past is over. We have a great chance to do something important tomorrow.”

Ancelotti described Simeone as “one of the best coaches in the world” in his press briefing and the Argentinian, who confirmed the former Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic will start after missing Atleti’s last two matches because of an ankle injury, said he had respect for his Italian opposite number.

“I have a great deal of admiration for him as a person, a respected man who sticks to his principals through victory and defeat and this makes him different,” he added. “Carlo is one of the best in the game and I’m proud to take him on.”

Atletico Madrid are currently priced 2.90 in the match betting and the draw is quoted outcome 3.25. Real Madrid can be backed at 2.70 in the 90 minutes market.

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