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Diego Simone: “Barça are the best team in the world”

Supercopa_de_EspañaAtlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone has made it clear he believes Barcelona are favourites to lift the Supercopa de España.

Atleti host Barcelona tonight in the first leg, before travelling to the Catalan capital the following week, and Simeone declared Barça are “without a doubt the better team” who not only boast Leo Messi, who the Argentine coach called “the best player in the world”, but also “a player who could become the best player in the world” – Neymar.

Favourites: “Barcelona are without a doubt the better team. They have Messi, the best player, and in Neymar they’ve bought a player who could become the best player in the world, as well as having Xavi, Pedro and Alexis. They have a lot of important players and it’s no surprise they are favourites. With the financial power they have, they have had the opportunity to construct a team that we have all enjoyed, because watching this Barcelona is a pleasure. But we will fight them with all our might.”

Tata Martino: “He was an extraordinary player with an incredible vision for the game. Now we can see he’s also a very good coach. It will be great to face each other.”

Dominance of Madrid-Barça. “It’s very difficult for either of them to have a bad season. We hope their domination won’t last forever, because fans want to see their team win.”

Possession: “On Sunday Sevilla had 63% possession and we had 37%, but we had more shots, more corners and more goals. Possession is always important, but only if you make it count. We have a style that entails having less possession because of the players we have. Barça have more posession but also are devastatingly clinical. They invented that style, and others copy them, and sometimes it works well.”

Tactics: “When you go into a game you need to know your strengths and your opponents’ strengths as well. They have many strengths and we have some too and it’s vital we know how to use them. We need to be patient, disciplined and tight at the back so we can take advantage of our opportunities.”

Diego Costa-David Villa: “They are both very excited about playing together, although they are still getting used to each other because they’ve only had two games together. They can form a great partnership. Adrián and Baptistao are also doing well, too, which pleases me. Whoever gets to play will be able to do a good job.”

Villa against his old club: “Beyond what he feels personally, he knows this team is a collective that is excited about playing another final. This is our fourth final in a year and a half, which is no mean feat, and it makes us very happy.”

Pressure: “The Supercopa is not more important to us than it is to Barça, finals are important to everyone. Of course, as they are favourites it’s important for them to win because they are expected to.”