Soccer-Concentration key for shaky Atletico to beat Inter, says Simeone

Credit: REUTERS/Juan Medina

MADRID, March 12 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid will have to be fully focused to emerge victorious in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Inter Milan on Wednesday, coach Diego Simeone said.

Atletico, coming off a shock 2-0 defeat by relegation-threatened Cadiz in LaLiga on Saturday, will be hoping to turn around the 1-0 loss they had suffered last month in Milan.

Inter dominated the first leg and the home side's solid defence prevented Atletico from any attempts on target.

"I understand everything that is happening to us," Simeone told a press conference on Tuesday.

"Until the home game against Athletic Bilbao we had a very good season, competing, (while) in the last few games the team did not maintain the level it had been playing at and we hope to continue to grow from the lessons we have learned.

"(Against Inter) it's a game that requires a very high level of concentration and whoever has it, will win."

Forward Antoine Griezmann, who sprained his ankle during the reverse fixture and had to be substituted late in the game, will be an important boost for the 2014 and 2016 finalists.

"His return to the team gives us more solutions and more possibilities, both tactically and as far as the game is concerned," Simeone said.

"Let's hope he has the game he wants to play."

Defender Axel Witsel said the Frenchman makes a huge difference when he plays.

"Grizzie gives the team a lot of strength and when he's not there it's different. He is an important player for us and we are very happy that he is back," Witsel said.

Injured midfielder Thomas Lemar and defender Jose Gimenez were the only players missing from the team's last training session ahead of the Inter game.

Atleti have reached the quarter-finals six times across the previous 10 years in Europe's top-tier competition.

(Reporting by Anita Kobylinska in Gdansk)

((anita.kobylinska@tr.com; +48 58 769 65 38;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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