Diego Simeone has explained his reasoning behind taking Atletico Madrid back to their preseason base prior to the Copa del Rey Final.
Atleti have based their preparations for trying to defeat city rivals Real Madrid for the first time since 1999 by returning to Los Angeles de San Rafael, where they spend every preseason.
“We didn’t go back to follow on from the footsteps of 1996. I believe that based on what has worked, we had to go,” explained Simeone in his pre-match Press conference.
“I'm a little old fashioned but I like to go back to the roots. And the roots were back here in preseason, where we began to build the dreams, illusions, work, train.
“I wanted to return to the same place where we started working. Back to the same place where they began to imagine all that could happen during the season. I wanted them to feel it.
“Hard work certainly brings important results. The team has built a very good season, winning the European Super Cup, being third in the League, competing with Barcelona and Real Madrid for some time and appearing in another final.
“All this makes the day we started in Los Angeles de San Rafael a little memory and the boys are in the place where it began. It is always good to get back to that.”
Atleti have not beaten Madrid in their last 25 attempts, and Simeone reflected on the importance of a win this Friday.
“After achieving the main goal to be among the top three and getting in to the Champions League, to ensure economic growth a better economic future for the club, and most important for the fan to win tournaments.
“People are not going to celebrate the third place, but they will this type of games. We have the ability. Since the Cup began we wanted to win and we are in the place where we wanted to be.
“Real Madrid are a team with players who are difficult to contain when there is space, and we’re a dangerous team with space. I imagine the team that has the best connection between the midfield and the attack will be closer to the victory.
“Tactics? We tend to play with a 4-4-2, which we will respect. That will allow the squad to try to use their tools to win the game.
“What better motivation than the match ahead. I'll talk individually with the players but more importantly is what they feel for the game tomorrow.”
El Cholo reflected further on the disparity between the city’s two clubs.
“We have an opponent before us who will punish any mistakes. I’d say that they are better than us but in a game its different. I often reflect on what happens on the street with people.
“We are a team working with great commitment and humility. In today's world where it is difficult to compare with people of the society in which we live in where everything is difficult, it is difficult for us to be related to Real Madrid in the final.
“I hope for society to work, to want, to be united and think about the team, building little by little within a year-and-a-half a lot of things, we can have a good game.
“We have to play a high tempo match, have good possession of the ball and exploit our two strikers. That will create more opportunities for us.
“Motivating the team? You try to convey the best feelings, but tomorrow is special for the players. I believe in the players and motivational work reaches a point.
“It’s not good to over motivate them because it is a game and they have to play. Fear exists for both sides. I put myself in the place of Madrid and if they lose it's complicated. Obviously this exists for both sides.
“Is this the biggest game in 15 years? The most important was against Oviedo years ago. It is a very important day for the players for their effort, for the work they have had put in to knock out Betis and Sevilla.
“And because we wanted to play the final after eliminating Jaen. We arrive here excited and because of what went before we know what we are playing for.”
Arda Turan is in contention to feature.
“Arda is well and we were planning how he could be ready for this game. He is a crucial player for us. We gave him minutes against Deportivo, Celta and far more against Barcelona. He is well and looking forward to it. Hopefully he can help our chances.”
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