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Valencia urged to keep composure against Atlético

Unai Emery says "managing emotions" is key as Valencia CF bid to overturn a 4-2 deficit and reach the final at the expense of Club Atlético de Madrid, who are taking nothing for granted.

Valencia coach Unai Emery at Wednesday's press conference
Valencia coach Unai Emery at Wednesday's press conference ©AFP/Getty Images

Trailing 4-2 to Club Atlético de Madrid after the opening instalment and still scarred by losing to the same side in 2010, Valencia CF must stay calm in Thursday's semi-final second leg according to coach Unai Emery.

Valencia were Atlético's victims in the last eight of the inaugural edition of the UEFA Europa League and again failed to cope with them in Madrid last week. The capital club may therefore be on the brink of a second final in three seasons but Emery remains upbeat, with Ricardo Costa's 94th-minute strike at the Vicente Calderón reviving a team which looked to be down and out.

"Ricardo's goal is important," said the 40-year-old. "We need the support of our fans, and Mestalla will drive us on and help show our virtues. The management of emotions is important – it is a game for men. We must not appear anxious. We have a chance as the team has demonstrated its ability to play good football and get comprehensive results.

"These teams are equal, if not in the scoreline at the moment. It's a game where we need soul, to go on the field with a fighting attitude from the first minute until the last. It's a very different game compared to a league match. We have to play 90 minutes and we must be prepared for everything. We can turn around the tie."

Diego Simeone believes so too, stressing that while his side sit in the box seat they could soon be prised out of it. "Tomorrow is massive," he added. "We respect our opponents and are not taking this lightly – we are playing in the semi-final of a great European competition. There are still 90 minutes to go and we need to turn in a good performance. I expect a big game, with great intensity."

Both teams showed plenty of purpose at the weekend. Atlético rose to seventh in the Liga with a 3-1 victory over RCD Espanyol, while Valencia returned to winning ways with a 4-0 defeat of Real Betis Balompié, reasserting their grip on third spot. Simeone, who will again be without injured defensive duo Antonio López and Sílvio, believes he has the measure of the Blanquinegros, however, having followed up a 0-0 away draw in February with last week's first-leg success.

"Valencia played very differently in my two previous games against them but we have worked out how to confront them as best we can," he said, before dismissing talk of crowd intimidation at Mestalla. "I care about what happens on the pitch, not in the stands – we must be strong and continue to do what we've been doing lately. Valencia must score; we must get to the final."