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Midfield battle key for Atlético's Simeone

Club Atlético de Madrid must win the midfield battle against AC Milan according to Diego Simeone while opposite number Clarence Seedorf wants to "write history once more".

Diego Simeone gets the message across to his Atlético players
Diego Simeone gets the message across to his Atlético players ©AFP/Getty Images

Diego Simeone says Club Atlético de Madrid must win the midfield battle against a "dangerous" AC Milan team if the Rojiblancos are to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the second time. With Milan having lost the first leg 1-0 at home, Simeone knows the visitors will be positive in their approach from the off – and Rossoneri coach Clarence Seedorf wants to "write history once more" by exploiting Milan's "attacking power".

Diego Simeone, coach
We have to see how our players are recovering from their tremendous effort in Vigo [on Saturday]. We will analyse the situation after today's training session and again tomorrow. Diego [Costa], Arda [Turan] and [Diego] Godín will be back. [David] Villa's goals and [José] Sosa's fine performance against Celta helped us grow as a team.

Great players appear in these matches. They have very good players and we can only expect the best of Milan. [Mario] Balotelli is a dominant player, but Milan are dangerous in many other areas. He is dangerous but needs his team-mates around him.

The result of the away leg means Milan need to look for a goal. We have to stop them and control the game. Intensity in midfield will be the key. If we are not well-protected in midfield, we will have an open match and it will be better for them. We must control the midfield and try to close down space. They are a very attacking team and we must take care with their quick players. If we can't control this, we will suffer.

Weekend result
Saturday: RC Celta de Vigo 0-2 Atlético (Villa 62 64)
Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Alderweireld, Filipe Luís; Gabi, Mario Suárez, Raúl García, Diego (Cristian Rodríguez 74), Koke (Sosa 60); Villa (Adrián López 84).

• The Rojiblancos – missing the suspended Diego Costa, Diego Godín and Arda Turan – moved above FC Barcelona and into second place thanks to their first win in three Liga games.

Team news
Javi Manquillo remains sidelined with a neck injury, but Tiago has returned to training following a knee complaint and wrist surgery.

Clarence Seedorf, coach
It is an open game. Maybe they have an advantage but we are going into the game with the mentality of it being level. Diego Costa and [Mario] Balotelli are two very important players but we cannot forget about the rest of the players taking part. I have seen a lot of Atlético this season and the team play very well as a group. We will be focusing on all of their players, David Villa included, I believe he is very important.

We are ready for what will be a hard battle. We are going into this match on the back of a defeat so this will be an important occasion. We will apply the same tactics as in the first leg, and while giving all due respect to Atlético, we will try to exploit our attacking power over the 90 minutes.

We have to score goals. We saw in the first leg what our possibilities were. The difference in the score is minimal and the tie is still very much open. When you lose the first leg, it is marvellous to be able to play again in a tie of such importance on the European stage. We can write history once more. It is always great to play in a stadium like this. We do not have to be worried by the atmosphere. We are ready for this kind of game.

Weekend result
Saturday: Udinese Calcio 1-0 Milan (Di Natale 67)
Abbiati; De Sciglio, Zapata, Mexès, Emanuelson; Montolivo, Muntari (Taarabt 71); Honda, Birsa (Essien 57), Robinho (Balotelli 63); Pazzini.

• Milan suffered their tenth Serie A defeat of the campaign – two more than in the whole of last season.

Team news
Mario Balotelli made his comeback on Saturday from a shoulder injury sustained in the first leg. Andrea Poli sat out the Udinese game with a head knock suffered in the previous league match, while Nigel de Jong has a gluteus problem. Stephan El Shaarawy (foot) has not played in 2014.

Match fact
• Atlético have won 15 of their last 16 home fixtures in UEFA competition, including three straight victories in this term's group stage. The only blip was a 2-0 loss to FC Rubin Kazan in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 in February 2013.