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Atlético de Madrid manager Diego Simeone has praised Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League round of 16 tie, and has also blatantly criticized the club’s younger players.
As Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge last month he has led the Blues to five wins out of seven in all competitions.
He also led former club Paris Saint Germain to the final of the Champions League in August. Tuchel has certainly impressed since his arrival, including Simeone.
But amid praise for the new Blues boss, he seemed to target the club’s younger players, implying that they hadn’t reached a good enough level.
“Chelsea is a very strong club, it develops every time and every year,” he said. “They bring in a lot of new players and invest in young players.
“When they didn’t see the investment and they didn’t pay, they had that change. They brought Tuchel, but they are a really great team and since he came he made a good change in the numbers ”.
Many fans and experts have argued that Lampard’s enthusiasm for promoting youth within the club ultimately cost him his job.
Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Reece James are just a few of the names that the Chelsea legend managed to integrate as a first team during his tenure.
However the Chelsea The squad is still full of experience and quality, as the Atlético de Madrid coach pointed out.
And he added: “It is enough to see which players have goalkeepers, strikers and everyone on the bench can play very well for any team in Europe.
“We just have to play a good game against a very great team, with a new coach, a very great coach and an important one who did his job in all the places he went.”
The first leg of the clash will take place in Bucharest instead of Madrid due to coronavirus travel restrictions and will see the Argentine take on Tuchel for the first time in a competitive match.
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Suárez an important cog in Atlético’s machine
Atlético made a key addition during the summer when convinced Luis Suárez to join La Liga rivals Barcelona.
The former Liverpool striker has repaid Simeone’s faith with 16 goals to send them off to the top of the table.
“The presence of Luis Suárez in all competitions is very important, not only in the Champions League because it gives energy, it gives confidence,” the 50-year-old continued.
“All the rivals are paying close attention to him because he is a man who is scoring. Of course it is important every day. “
Chelsea will be left without Thiago Silva but Simeone played down any advantage he gives his team.
Atlético will be in an unfamiliar environment despite being a tie at home, and the match will be played at the Arena Nationala after the Spanish government’s restrictions on travelers entering the country from England.
Simone insisted: “We don’t have to talk about things that we cannot manage. That is what we live today.
“There are many difficulties for many people, many workers. We love football so this is what we have to do.
“This is where we have to play and we just have to focus on the game that we have here.”
Chelsea have not lost to Atlético de Madrid since April 201. Their last meeting in the competition ended in a 1-1 draw in 2017.