Diego Simeone has waxed lyrical over the squad Thomas Tuchel has inherited at Stamford Bridge.
Simeone’s Atletico Madrid take on Chelsea in a Champions League round of 16 first leg tie in Bucharest tonight in what is set up to be an intriguing tie following the arrival of Tuchel in west London.
Tuchel has Chelsea looking strong, going seven games unbeaten across all competitions, but a date with La Liga leaders Atletico might just prove to be the ultimate litmus test.
Simeone‘s men are three points clear with a game in-hand in La Liga, and Chelsea will have to be at their best tonight to ensure they remain unbeaten since their new head coach’s arrival.
But given the Blues’ form, Atleti are very much approaching the game in a similar vein, Simeone well versed in just how talented a squad Tuchel has at his disposal.
In fact, the Atletico boss believes any of Chelsea’s players could compete for a spot in ‘any team in Europe’.
“We will see. It’s a strong club, financially, Since last year, they have spent enormously,” said Simeone when asked if the arrival of Tuchel makes the fixture more difficult.
“The coach (Tuchel) is important and he has made a strong impression. It’s a young and good squad and they invest in young players.
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“They changed the coach when they didn’t see the investments were improving (the squad). Tuchel has a strong team and they have improved statistically.
“Just look at the goalkeepers, the strikers…any player could play in any team in Europe.”
A glowing review from Simeone, but the Argentine has a reputation for toppling clubs with an economical advantage with his hard-working, organised Atleti, so admiration is certainly not to be mistaken for fear heading into tonight’s game.