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It was a tricky first half of the season for Club Atlético de Madrid, but after bowing out of the UEFA Champions League, the Spanish club have made amends since the turn of the year and will contest the UEFA Europa League final against Fulham FC on Wednesday. The club's top marksman both domestically and in Europe, Diego Forlán tells UEFA.com that he is looking forward to finishing an often frustrating season on a huge high.
UEFA.com: What was your experience of the Liverpool semi-final?
Diego Forlán: Those are the types of games you dream about – and they were two intense matches. The team played well in the first leg and deserved to score another goal. It was a result that didn't allow us to relax, and we still needed to play a tricky match at Anfield, which we knew would be hard. We needed to score a goal; it was key to score. Maybe it came very late, but we did score, and so made it through.
UEFA.com: Anfield is somewhere you have won in the past at Manchester United FC. Did that knowledge give you a psychological lift?
Forlán: No, not at all. Yes, I have played there, won there and scored goals. In this case we actually lost, but we went through, so it doesn't matter ... but we knew it would be a very difficult game. We know that they are a team with a lot of history, that it's difficult to play on that pitch and that is how it turned out.
UEFA.com: Now you face Fulham in the final – are they your preferred opponents from the other semi-final?
Forlán: It doesn't matter to me who we face, but the main difference between Hamburg and Fulham is that Hamburg would have been playing in their own stadium – this could have made a difference, because it's your own surroundings, your city. Now, though, there will be two teams playing on a neutral ground, so in this sense I prefer Fulham as final opponents.
UEFA.com: What do you know about Fulham?
Forlán: They are a team that work very well and have good players. Defensively, they are very solid. They have a player in their midfield [Danny Murphy] who is very experienced, and who has won titles. And up front, they can create danger and score goals.
UEFA.com: Do you feel Atlético are favourites to win the final?
Forlán: No – I think it is 50-50. Of course we'll go there believing in ourselves and in the way we are playing. We know that we have improved a lot, are more solid and working well as a team. It is a final, so it's the details that will decide whether we win or lose. Will you play a great game and win the final, or the opposite? These are unique games, and different circumstances can occur, so you never know. I think the day of the final will be spectacular with a great atmosphere and plenty of our fans there.
UEFA.com: Why have Atlético been more successful in cup competitions this season?
Forlán: It's difficult to say. We started badly in the Liga, and that cost us dearly. In the other competitions, the Europa League and the Copa del Rey, the team has been much better.
UEFA.com: What difference has Quique Sánchez Flores made?
Forlán: Well there's always a new dynamic with a change of coach, but as time passed we started working in this new way, with the new technical team and now we are seeing the results of that. The team is doing much better, and that is proved by our results and the way we are moving forward.
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