Atletico Madrid coach Simeone happy returning to Lazio: Nice they’re back in Champions League

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone admits they face Lazio not in the best shape.

Atletico go into their Champions League opener on the back of defeat to Valencia.

“It was a difficult defeat,” said Simeone. “We started well, but we didn’t know how to react. I have confidence in the team. Now we have the Champions League, we have to think about this competition.

“I’ve always liked (Maurizio) Sarri’s game, I’ve always followed him. I also took inspiration from him to improve my team. Lazio defend well, they look for numerical superiority and have dangerous players.

“They’re a team that know what they want, we’ll try to hurt them. They lost to Juventus, but their true face is the one from the win in Napoli.

“We both started the season negatively, but it’s how you finish that matters, not how you start.”

The game marks a return to the Stadio Olimpico, with Simeone a former Lazio player.

“Goosebumps. Everything brings me back to some extraordinary years of my football career. A fan base that has always loved me from day one.

“We won a lot in a beautiful period. I have great memories, I’m sure we’ll see each other on the pitch tomorrow. I thank the fans for all the affection I’ve always received.

“In life one has to give without waiting. What the other does is welcome, if they do it. The affection that exists between us goes beyond applause tomorrow on the pitch.

“We had a great team. With that header of mine (against Juventus in 2000) I reopened the title race, something never ends if you want it.

“We wanted that Scudetto and we managed to win it. Hopefully tomorrow there will be a lot of fans, it’s nice to see Lazio in the Champions League again.”

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