Koke: Atleti capable of anything

Koke has issued a pre-Barcelona rallying cry to Atletico Madrid fans as “we’re Atletico and we’re capable of anything”.

The midfielder was interviewed by Marca about Los Colchoneros’ Champions League quarter-final second leg against Barcelona, and he made it clear that his side had what it took to condemn the Catalans to a repeat of their last-eight victory in 2014.

“[Barca] are the most complicated rival we could play,” he began.

“They’re at a spectacular level, but we’re Atletico and we’re capable of anything.

“The last two years have been great. We eliminated them before and there’s no reason why we can’t do so again.

“I don’t know if there is [an anti-Barca formula], apart from working very hard, being very focused and taking our chances.

This club seems you do not need to play well, as was the case Guardiola to win. Is it more dangerous this version?

“[The team of Pep] Guardiola won it all, while this one lack some trophies. I don’t know which is better or worse, but we’ll see.

“[The ‘MSN’] are a forward line, in which any of the three is able to win a game in a second.

“[On Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez], they’re a safety net.

“They give away very little and when they do, [Jan] Oblak usually takes care of it.

“For a midfielder, they let you play with more freedom. Any time you’re attacked when you go forward and you think you don’t have enough time to get back, I know they’re at the back.

“[On his favoured result in the first leg], a 0-1 would be fine.

“The atmosphere at [the Vicente Calderon] is tremendous, as it has been in the last two years and against PSV.

“We need the fans and we know they’re there. They give off enormous energy, enthusiasm and desire.

“They give everything for you if you give them everything back, and we’ll take to the pitch knowing that nothing is impossible.

“We’ll never give up on the League, but it’s very difficult. We’re six points behind [Barca] and they have a better goal difference.

“It’s still very complicated, but we’ll try to catch them. If not then we’ll fight for second place.

“It would still be great because we’ve always said that our objective is to finish third.

“[On Diego Simeone’s complaints of kick-off times after CL games], we must respect the times we’re given.

“Still, you can feel it when you play in extra time [midweek] and then play Saturday at four [CET].

“But we’ll take it as it comes. We must face it and work hard to win regardless.”

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