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Atlético's Tiago, Suárez dreaming of Lisbon showpiece

Tiago and Mario Suárez say Club Atlético de Madrid are full of confidence and "ready to take on any team" as they look to reach a first UEFA Champions League final.

Atlético's Mario Suárez at the pre-match press conference
Atlético's Mario Suárez at the pre-match press conference ©AFP/Getty Images

Tiago is confident Club Atlético de Madrid can fulfill "every player's dream" and reach the UEFA Champions League final at the expense of his former club Chelsea FC.

With the tie finely poised after last week's goalless draw in Spain, Chelsea – in a seventh semi in 11 seasons – hold the edge in terms of experience. Tiago does not expect that to make a fundamental difference. "We are experienced," he said. "We haven't been in the Champions League for a few years, that's true, but we're feeling confident.

"I look at my team-mates and I have full confidence in them all," the midfielder added. "I see a team fully capable and ready to take on any team. We're not thinking about mistakes. We're thinking about doing things well. This is a great opportunity to get to a final, which is every player's dream."

Tiago appeared in both legs of Chelsea's defeat by Liverpool FC in 2004/05 – his sole season at Stamford Bridge, and what he describes as "an unforgettable year; this is a special game for me" – and knows just how durable his former club and their manager José Mourinho will be.

"We know it'll be very difficult because Chelsea don't leave any spaces, but we need to find a solution for that. We know Chelsea will start strongly. They're well organised and will try and take advantage of set pieces. We'll have to do the same, and take advantage of the possession we have. We have similar virtues to them, and we'll just try and prove stronger in the end. We'll just try and play as well as we can and tap into our own qualities."

With Atlético captain Gabi suspended Tiago and Mario Suárez are in contention for a starting berth, and the latter echoed his team-mate's views on cutting out errors. "The teams know each other very well," the midfielder said. "We know Chelsea are a team who expect the opponents to make a mistake, and they will take advantage of that. But we need to exploit our own qualities. We'll try and win the game and focus on how well we play."

Mario expects an equally tight game to last week's draw at the Estadio Vicente Calderón, and their opponents' approach to mirror their efforts in Spain. "We feel it's going to be a similar Chelsea; we know they may attack a bit more because they need a goal, but they're very solid and strong at the back and wait for opponents to make a mistake," he explained. "We have to take the chances that come our way.

"We don't know what kind of game it'll be, but we have to do our best, give 100% and take care of the ball. If they offer us space, we'll have to take advantage. We need to score, and we'll go out there to win, as we do in every game."

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