Sacchi: Atletico a real team

Former Milan Coach Arrigo Sacchi has paid tribute to Atletico Madrid ahead of the Champions League meeting between the sides.

Sacchi, who won the European Cup twice with Milan in 1989 and 1990, also had a season in charge at Vicente Calderon, as well as a season as director of football for Real Madrid.

Now 67, Sacchi told Marca that he has been very impressed by the performances of Los Colchoneros this season.

“Atletico is a real team. They play with very clear ideas. I've watched them a number of times this season and they are spectacular,” Sacchi said.

“The game they played against Real at Santiago Bernabeu in the League particularly stuck with me. They really deserved the victory.

“It's a strong group that is well connected, plays with a quick pace and the players really help each other out. The team spirit on display is really at a very high level.”

Sacchi pointed to forward Diego Costa as the key man in Diego Simeone’s side.

“He's a whirlwind of energy. I love his strength, aggression and fight. He's a modern striker. He contributes in attack and in defence.

“There are many good strikers that only dominate certain aspects of the game, who only go in one direction, but not him. He gives his all when going forward and tracking back.”

Sacchi has been similarly impressed by the work of Simeone on the bench but, while he feels Atletico are favourites to reach the next round, he warned against taking Milan lightly.

“The job Cholo is doing is fantastic. There isn't another team in Europe that's more organised than Atletico,” Sacchi added.

“The side's fluidity in attack isn't always the best, but the pressure they apply to their opponents certainly is, the way they press. They are very organised defensively

“Atletico is favourite to go through just now, but watch out for Milan.

“We're talking about a team with a lot of experience in Europe here, a club that has won the Champions League seven times.

“The team clearly isn't at its best just now, but it has top quality players who can make a difference on their day.”

Tags Arrigo Sacchi Champions League Milan Milan
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