Filipe: We have to stop Barca

Filipe Luis has said Atletico Madrid have to disrupt Barcelona’s game if they are to progress in their Champions League quarter-final tie.

The sides meet on Tuesday at Camp Nou in the first-leg, the first of three games between the clubs in the remainder of the season.

As well as the second-leg at Vicente Calderon next week, Barca and Atletico meet on the final day of the League campaign in a game that could be decisive in the title race.

Atletico currently lead the way, a point clear of Barca, with Real Madrid three points adrift of their city rivals.

“Scoring at the Camp Nou isn't easy and stopping them from scoring is even harder,” Filipe predicted.

“We have to stop them from playing their game and try to counter them. We know they're going to look to dominate.

“It’s hard to say who goes into the game in better form. We’re both playing well with different styles of play.

“We will defend and counter, while they'll take possession and try to tire us out.

“We have three games left against them and it's going to be hard. We must be attentive and physically at our best.

“They're the favourites, but at this level of competition desire also plays a part.”

Filipe insisted, however, that the outcome of the Champions League double-header will have no bearing on the League.

“A knockout game against Barca takes a lot out on you and for that reason we wanted a foreign opponent,” he revealed.

“But the result won't influence anything in the League. We have changed into 'Champions League mode' and it won't affect us.”

The Brazilian was asked to compare the relative merits of Diego Costa and Lionel Messi and said Costa is ideal for Atletico’s approach.

“Nothing surprises me [with Costa]. He's not scared and has gone through a lot to get where he is, and these people see the future as challenges.

“On the pitch he is a leader, he's perfect for the system we have.

“Messi is on course to be the best player ever. He's been injured and now he's better than he was.

“Costa fights game upon game and scores more and more goals.

“They're different, one is talent and the other is fight and perseverance.

“Messi is more individual and Costa is more of a team player. He makes the side play better.”

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La Liga - Club News