Striker Sergio Agüero hopes Club Atlético de Madrid can end a long and testing season on a high note with victory in the inaugural UEFA Europa League final in Hamburg.
The Spanish side won only five of their first 20 matches in all competitions and were winless in the UEFA Champions League group stage, but they have blossomed in the UEFA Europa League, eliminating Galatasaray AŞ, Sporting Clube de Portugal, Valencia CF and Liverpool FC to earn a final showdown with Fulham FC.
"This is a huge match for us, because the team have given a lot but haven't won anything yet," Agüero told UEFA.com. "I've never been to a final before, so it's a first for me and hopefully I can give my best and we'll win. It will be difficult because a final is a one-off. Let's hope it goes our way."
Standing between Atlético and a second European trophy are a Fulham side few would have picked as potential finalists when their season started last July. Yet with the English club having knocked out holders FC Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, VfL Wolfsburg and Hamburger SV, Agüero knows they will be tough opponents.
"Fulham are in the final because they have good players who have done a great job," the Argentinian international said. "We are trying to think of next Wednesday as just another game, but it's a final. English football is very hard, and Fulham are [one of] the toughest teams in the Premier League. They will give everything to win, as we will, so we must be concentrated and play well, like in our previous matches."
With a Copa del Rey final against Sevilla FC also looming for Atlético on 19 May, Agüero points to coach Quique Sánchez Flores's October appointment as the turning point in their season. "We started badly but Quique set things straight again," said the 21-year-old.
"He put in our minds what we have to do in our positions and that you can't do much without the ball. He took care of that and made sure we had the ball a lot more. He has made us better organised on the field and we go into games with much more confidence now. That's why we are where we are – in these finals."
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.