Diego Simeone is relishing the pressure of ending Atletico Madrid’s wait for a Champions League as “I love having 113 years of history on my shoulders”.
Simeone and his troops face a familiar foe in Saturday’s final as Real Madrid are their opponents for a second time in three years, and he believes Atleti are better prepared to win their first European cup now than in 2014, when they lost 4-1 to Los Blancos after extra time.
“[On superstitions], people who view things this way are underestimating our work. We always look forward, seeking the best solutions,” the Coach said at a Press conference.
“I expect a very tense and balanced match at first. The presence of Casemiro allows our opponents to regroup better when they don’t have the ball, while maintaining their attacking strength.
“We’ll see who wins the midfield battle at the start of the match, although Madrid may play more football due to having more technical quality.
“[We’ll play with] the same passion, enthusiasm and competence we’ve had since the first day after Lisbon.
“[On his hardest task at the club] the club, the players and the base that have accompanied us, we’ve continually reinvented them and succeeded in doing so.
“There are 10 different players from the  final. [Our ability to rebuild] is the most valuable thing for this club. We’ve worked accordingly to continue improving.
“Playing a final is something fantastic, and winning it is paramount. The best thing about this team is how they prepare, get back up and reinvent themselves without changing their identity of commitment.
“When you repeat [your methods] and are persistent in doing so, you can [win trophies].
“[On how Atleti will play], we’ll play with 11 in their area! It’s funny, what’s been said [referring to Atleti being defensive].
“We won’t be that different [to four years ago]. Madrid will play a similar team to four years ago. We’ve changed players, but our methods haven’t that much.
“The presence of Casemiro makes [Madrid] more dangerous on the counterattack. He proved that to be the case against [Manchester] City in both legs, although it’s clear anyhow that Madrid are very dangerous in space.
“There are only a few teams better than us, perhaps Barcelona, Bayern [Munich] and Real Madrid, but we have stability, balance and team work.
“We must protect our privileged position, and the only way to do that is by winning [on Saturday]
“[On the pressure of winning a first CL], I love having 113 years of history on my shoulders.
“We suffered in Barcelona and Munich but played with intelligence in our home games [against Barca and Bayern].
“[Diego Costa] congratulated us after Bayern and Barca. There will be many lads wearing our jersey in front of the television.
“[Zidane] has carried out some important work, but Casemiro has changed the face of the team. Still, he’s an important Coach.
“[On Ronaldo’s dislike of Atleti], I respect great players like Ronaldo. Opinions are to be respected. In football, as in politics or religion, everybody has a say.
“[On what would make him happy], just a win.”