Friday, 16 November, 2018

Atletico Madrid coach Simeone: Anything can happen against Marseille

After 25 years Marseille looking to win in Europe again Atletico Madrid coach Simeone: Anything can happen against Marseille
Shannon Reynolds | 16 May, 2018, 09:33

They're two big clubs going head to head, two institutions, but OM have the means to win.

The Ligue 1 side face Atletico Madrid in Lyon in the Europa League final, with a place in the Champions League - the competition that brought both their greatest and darkest hour - up for grabs.

UEFA Cup runners-up in 1998/99 and 2003/04, Marseille have reached the UEFA Europa League final for the first time in four attempts. So while Simeone highlighted multiple attacking threats in this Marseille team, he clearly views Payet as the most unsafe.

In many ways Simeone's hard-working side were in their element in the way they dug out a 1-1 draw at the Emirates in London, despite having had Sime Vrsaljko sent off early on, as well as their Argentine coach for complaining - before seeing out a 1-0 victory at home. "Of course their free kicks and corners are risky, but they have many more weapons. They have very offensive minded wing backs and they're well prepared".

While Madrid boasts big-name forwards in Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa, not to mention Fernando Torres and Kevin Gameiro on the bench, Marseille does not have a recognized top-class striker.

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Marseille coach Rudi Garcia hailed Atletico as having the best defense in Spain, and is counting on Payet to breach it. We haven't had that much time together, but we're linking up well. "But I think we have the attacking quality to do so", the France global said. What happened before gives you experience and moments. "To win you need to play well, experience helps you know what you need to do on the pitch but in the end it's still a game", he said.

Atletico are viewed as the favorites in this game, in part due to their recent big-game experience.

Atletico have already assured themselves of a place in next season's Champions League by finishing in the top four in La Liga, but Marseille, now in the Europa League spot in Ligue 1 with one game remaining, would guarantee their passage by winning the final. They came into the competition from the Champions League and we came through the Europa League playoffs.

But Marseille may have an advantage in playing just a three-hour drive away in Lyon, with up to 15,000 of its fans expected to make the trip. "Tomorrow, everyone will be in shape, but I get the impression that the more games this team plays, the more it is in shape", Garcia explained. "As we approach the game, the emotions rise and rise", Simeone said.

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