Atletico are second in the league table, three points behind leaders Real Sociedad with two games in hand.
Valencia, meanwhile, are in ninth, eight points behind Atletico with two more games played.
They’ve won just one of their last five games, but it was an impressive 4-1 rout of Real Madrid at Mestalla.
Gracia was well-aware of the unique threat posed by Los Rojiblancos in his comments pre-game, with Simeone’s side coming into the clash having won five on the bounce.
“We are facing an Atletico that is one of the teams playing the best football this season with real signs of solidity,” Gracia said in comments carried by Marca.
“Their individuals are very good, but as a team they are strong. We’re confident playing at home, however, and we believe that we’re in a good moment.
“We recognise the difficulty of scoring a goal against them. Creating chances against a team that defends like Atletico is complicated.”
Gracia also spoke about Geoffrey Kondogbia, the midfielder from the Central African Republic who joined Atletico from Valencia in this past close-season.
“He’s a rival’s player, he’s not ours,” Gracia said. “He’s a former player of ours. If I see him, I’ll say hello. The time we spent together was good. He’s a great professional, a good person and he always behaved well with me.”
Gracia had kind words for his counterpart in the Atletico dugout, Simeone, who’s managed to rebuild what was an ageing team to mount a fresh title challenge.
“The work he’s been doing deserves a lot of merit,” Gracia said. “He’s built different teams. Atletico has gone through different times and seasons.
“In tomorrow’s game, for example, I think we’re facing a very different team to the one we would have faced last season, with options in attack that enable them to dominate the ball more.
“It’s going to be a demanding game for us, but it’s a challenging fixture for everybody. We’re going to try to have a chance to win.”
Featured image courtesy of Libertad Digital.