Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has insisted that there is “no problem” with the fact that they must face Chelsea in the first-leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie in Bucharest next week.
The first-leg of the tie will take place at the Arena Nationala on Tuesday evening, opposed to Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano due to coronavirus restrictions, meaning the Spanish giants will not be playing in their own ground for what is their home leg.
Already this week, following the resumption of European club football, we have seen several matches played away from the venue where they normally would have been, with both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur having travelled to Budapest, Hungary, for their clashes with RB Leipzig and Wolfsberger AC, respectively.
Liverpool, who won 2-0 against the Bundesliga side, should have travelled to Germany whilst Spurs, who ran out convincing 4-1 victors, should have made the trip to Austria.
Despite Atletico, though, losing the added bonus of home advantage in the first-leg, Simeone, who will be looking to lead his side to victory over an English opponent in the Champions League for the second time in as many seasons, insists it is not an issue, remaining focused on the task in-hand.
“I don’t think it’s important to give an opinion because the opinion we might say won’t influence on what the reality is,” said Simeone, as quoted by as. “And because we are living a complex moment globally, from a social point of view, it is already difficult to compete and do our job,” he told a news conference.
“We will prepare and enjoy what we have. To play anywhere, any time, the day they want.
“There is no problem.”
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Although Chelsea will not be allowed to visit the Spanish capital for the first-leg on Tuesday evening, Atletico, as things stand, will be able to visit Stamford Bridge for the return-leg next month, meaning Thomas Tuchel’s side will have the home advantage the second time around.
Last season, the Blues were dumped out of the competition at the round of 16 stage, losing 7-1 on aggregate to German heavyweights Bayern Munich. Atletico, meanwhile, were knocked out at the quarter-final stage, losing 2-1 to Leipzig in August.