Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - La Liga

Simeone on Arsenal: “They are a very strong rival”

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Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has acknowledged that they face a very difficult encounter against Arsenal for the semi-finals of the Europa League

The two sides have been heavily fancied as the favourites for the tournament and have been been drawn to face each other to determine a place in the final at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais on 16 May with Arsenal set to host Atletico for the first leg at the Emirates.

Unlike the Gunners, however, Simeone’s side are assured of Champions League football for next season with Atletico currently in second place in La Liga and four points ahead of Real Madrid with just six games remaining.

But Simeone is refusing to get carried away and believes that going up against a coach of the calibre of Arsene Wenger with quality squad in Arsenal promises to be a difficult challenge.

“With their history they are a very strong rival, they have a very important coach who is very capable with plenty of experience and quality footballers,” said the Argentine, according to Marca.

“We will use the squad as always. With it being near the end of the season, the footballers have more desire and we will go out trying to give the best for the team and thinking in winning.

“This is the season where I am learning most about being a coach and improving.”

Atletico delivered a 3-0 win over Levante on Sunday to maintain their four point lead over local rivals Real in second place in league standings.