Diego Simeone has backed his Atletico Madrid side to give “sweat, heart and tears” in order to claim a famous victory over Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup.
Atletico boss Simeone admitted the Blues are favourites for tonight’s Monaco showpiece by virtue of their Champions League win and the vast sums they have spent building on that triumph.
But the former Argentina midfielder insisted that would count for nothing if his Europa League winners left everything on the pitch at the Stade Louis II. “I believe, when there is a favourite, it is because one is better than the other,” Simone said. “I’d prefer to be the favourite because you have some assets the other doesn’t - that is clear. But the game is what counts. What counts is what is on the pitch on Friday - sweat, heart, tears - things which go beyond what is on paper.”
Atletico secured such a triumph when they beat then-European champions Inter Milan in the Super Cup two years ago.
Simeone, who led the Spaniards to their second Europa League title in three years after succeeding Gregorio Manzano midway through last season, added: “We won’t lie to people - Chelsea are the favourites. They have an enormous budget and, in sporting terms, they won the Champions League. On paper, they have better opportunities than we do. We want to be competitive and we want to show when it comes to a one-off match, it comes down to who plays better.”
Tomorrow’s game will see Chelsea striker Fernando Torres face his former club for the first time since leaving for Liverpool five years ago. Torres joined Atletico at the age of 11, became their youngest ever captain at 19, and was their leading scorer in each of his final five seasons before moving to Anfield.
He admitted this week Atletico would always be his first love but Simeone was reluctant to discuss the Spaniard’s reunion with his boyhood idols or draw comparison with the club’s latest goal machine, Radamel Falcao, who has been heavily linked with Chelsea in the past.