Simeone out to hit Barcelona while they are down

Luis Enrique has a 100% record as Barcelona boss in seven meetings with Atlético, but Diego Simeone reckons upsetting the odds is in his side's DNA as the Madrid club plot a comeback.

Gabi and Diego Simeone in Tuesday's press conference
Gabi and Diego Simeone in Tuesday's press conference ©AFP/Getty Images
  • Barcelona lead Liga rivals Atlético 2-1 heading into quarter-final second leg
  • Atlético moved within three points of Liga leaders Barcelona at weekend
  • Atleti have lost seven matches out of seven against Luis Enrique's Barcelona
  • In-form Fernando Torres suspended and Rojiblancos still have issues at centre-back
  • Barcelona have reached semis in seven of last eight seasons

Possible lineups
Atlético: Oblak; Juanfran, Godín, Hernández, Filipe Luís; Koke, Gabi, Augusto, Ñíguez; Griezmann, Carrasco.
Out: Tiago (broken leg), Torres (suspended), Giménez (hamstring)
Doubtful: Savić (foot)
Misses next match if booked: Óliver Torres

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Rakitić, Iniesta; Messi, Neymar, Suárez.
Out: Mathieu (knee), Rafinha (adductor), Sandro (hamstring), Vermaelen (calf), Vidal (adductor)
Doubtful: none
Misses next match if booked: Busquets, Mascherano

Diego Simeone, Atlético coach
Being Atlético means being tenacious, competitive, never giving up and overcoming difficulties. We know there are better teams than us. But we know we can compete against Barcelona.

We try to improve what we are doing [against Barça] game after game. We will try to find an angle and see if we can get at them and win.

The excitement and enthusiasm around this match is fantastic, but I don't think the Barcelona players will be surprised by the atmosphere because they are used to it.

Koke is a very important player for us. He has great vision. The team has had a freshness and an energy about it of late, and that's down to having a player like him in midfield.

Luis Enrique, Barcelona coach
We are treating this like any quarter-final – I don't feel it's the biggest match of our season. We have a small advantage and we will try to win here too to make sure of the result. This team was made for matches like this. Yes, it's always difficult against Atlético, but it's all about doing things well, which is what we try to do every match. We'll need to play really well.

There is always room for improvement. It's not fair to think that victories or defeats are because of two or three players. I'm just as guilty for any defeats because I am the coach. I'm very happy with Arda Turan's performances and Gerard Piqué is fine.

Tomorrow will be difficult like any UEFA Champions League tie, particularly so against Atlético since they know us so well. There is no doubt we are going to compete. We love to see the Vicente Calderón full but if there's any team able to play in this atmosphere it is Barça. I hope we can see a great spectacle.

First-leg highlights: Barcelona 2-1 Atlético
First-leg highlights: Barcelona 2-1 Atlético

Weekend results
Espanyol 1-3 Atlético (Diop 29; Torres 35, Griezmann 58, Koke 89)
Atlético's second visit to Barcelona in five days ended in more positive fashion despite them falling behind. Fernando Torres replied, chesting down Koke's pass before finishing low for his third in as many matches. The visitors then completed the turnaround when Antoine Griezmann fired in off the post. At the death, Torres combined with Koke for the midfielder to head Atlético's third.

Real Sociedad 1-0 Barcelona (Mikel Oyarzabal 5)
The Anoeta brought more disappointment for Barcelona, who have not beaten Real Sociedad at their San Sebastian home since 2007. Mikel Oyarzabal, 18, headed over Claudio Bravo after just five minutes to put the mid-table hosts in front. Barcelona lacked sharpness, with Munir El Haddadi standing in for the suspended Luis Suárez, though Gerónimo Rulli made some great saves to preserve his side's lead.

Barcelona have won one of their last four
Barcelona have won one of their last four©Getty Images

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Atlético: WLWLDW
Barcelona: LWLDWW

Reporter's view: Joseph Walker (@UEFAcomJoeW)
The bad news for Atlético is they are now seven without a win against Barcelona and Luis Enrique seems to have Simeone's number. The Rojiblancos, however, will take heart from the ragged form that has seen the visitors take one point from a possible nine in the Liga. Suddenly they look vulnerable against solid defensive outfits. Stopping the Barça front three from playing holds the key and if Atlético grab an early goal then anything is possible.

Did you know?
Barcelona have prevailed in 38 of the 40 UEFA competition ties in which they won the first leg at home. What were the exceptions? Find out the answer to this, as well as various other facts and stats, in our extensive match background.