Atletico boss Diego Simeone and midfielder Koke believe the Bianconeri will look to make the electric atmosphere produced by Juventus Stadium work firmly in their favour when they cross the white line for tomorrow’s Group A decider.
The Argentine coach, who has steered his side into the last 16 with a game to spare, says Juventus represent a different prospect on home soil and is warning his men to prepare for sparks to fly in Turin.
Speaking to the media in Turin, Simone began: “They pose a much greater threat at home than on the road and we’ll be stepping out into an atmosphere that will resemble a final. We’re up against a team who need to win and that’s exactly why I’m expecting the best Juventus performance of recent times.
“It will be a great game that will tell us who can finish first, second or even go out of the competition, because a defeat could see them eliminated. Last year Juventus failed to reach the knockout stages and their history and tradition demand they stay in Champions League.”
His thoughts on the Juventus Stadium effect were also shared by the man alongside him, Koke, who also says he is looking forward to testing his mettle against midfield counterpart Andrea Pirlo.
The 22-year-old Spanish international said: “It will be special to play at this stadium and in this atmosphere. It’s always great to play in Europe and we hope tomorrow proves to be a good day for us.
“We already got a taste of the Bianconeri’s strong midfield at the Calderon, minus the great that is Pirlo, but we also possess excellent players who can run and get stuck in. It will be a good game tomorrow.”
Remaining on the subject of the Bianconeri’s midfield maestro, Simeone elaborated on the particular scenarios his team will need to pay particular attention to when trying to reduce Pirlo’s impact.
He continued: “We’ll have the chance to see a great player in action. His speed of thought doesn’t allow you the time to react to his play and he also strikes great free-kicks. We’ll need to stay alert to him.”
When asked who he expected to partner Carlos Tevez up front, the 44-year-old concluded: “Morata or Llorente? You’ll need to ask Allegri that. Morata has a little less experience but a huge future ahead of him. Llorente has played more international fixtures and knows how important tomorrow’s game will be.”