NEWS | 01/05/2017“Atlético improve every year and always make it difficult for us”, added the coach.
"The fans are a bonus, as always. We need them. It's a semi-final, we know what we have to do, but the Bernabéu crowd is a bonus for the team. For Atlético and for us it is a different tie than the previous ones. It's a semi-final with two games. We’ll have extra motivation because it’s a semi-final. What’s gone before is in the past. The past serves for nothing. It's different now and we'll all do our best to get to the final".
Talks with the squad
"It's important to talk to the group and also to individual players to tell them what you need from them".
"We don’t train for it, but we have to be ready because it could happen. It went in our favour against Bayern and against Barcelona. Casemiro is important in the middle, he is physically strong and I’ll not tell him to change his game. What he does is perfect and he may receive a card early on, just like the other day. He knows that if he can avoid it, he'll try".
"We’re not favourites, it's a semi-final and it's 50-50, as always. We’ll try to do our best to win the game. We have to concentrate only on tomorrow’s match, not on the second-leg".
"He feels good, he’s also in high spirits. People talk a lot, but he’s focused on what he has to do and he looks good to me".
"I’m concentrating on tomorrow's game, I’m not even thinking about Saturday's game. This is the only thing that interests me. We don’t know what’s going to happen and it doesn’t bother us".
Varane and the centre backs
"He is feeling well and fully recovered. Pepe is still missing. The other three centre backs are all in very good condition. I'm happy to have all three available for this final stretch. We’ve had several games with only two centre backs available and it's better to have three".
"The opponent aren’t getting chances easily, but it is true that we’re not keeping clean sheets like last year. We try to do as much as possible to make things difficult for opponents to scorer. At the same time, it’s impossible to avoid it altogether. This is football and the other team has their strengths as they look to hurt you. The important thing is to score a goal more than the opponent. Tomorrow is a knockout match and we will try to keep a clean sheet and score goals".
"He looks good to me. He’s been playing well and he has a chance to play, but I’m not going to say who’ll play tomorrow".
How to surprise the opposition
"With something different. We know each other very well and we’re not going to invent anything. We´ve prepared the game very well and we’re ready to play. You never know what’ll happen before a game. We’re looking forward to the start of the tie".
"It's a Champions League semi-final and there's always an extra motivation. We have an big opponent in front of us. The small details will decide the tie and we want to see a great game of football".
"Atletico are a team that have been very good for four or five years and they get better every year. They’re a team that always makes it difficult for us, like a lot of teams do. The strength that they have is that they never give up, no matter what happens. They fight, they know their strengths and play to them. That said, we'll see tomorrow because we have our weapons and we'll be focused on our game".
State of the team
"The team doesn’t look any worse than last year at this point. Getting to the semi-final indicates that the team is in good shape. Now two teams from the capital come up against each other, the rivalry is the same because it’s a derby and we both know each other very well".
"The other day I spoke about nerves because it’s a normal feeling. Not only do Madrid players feel it. All players have a bit of nerves when it gets to the end of the season. There is pressure on a player when he plays a semi-final. We’re used to playing in this type of game and hopefully we’ll start well tomorrow. The important thing is that we concentrate on the game".
Cristiano the finisher
"I look at Cristiano as a coach. I never played with him although I played against him. His stats are impressive. I was lucky enough to play with Ronaldo Nazario, who was also an extraordinary player. I was a little jealous because I didn’t score so many goals. I gave assists but didn’t have that feeling you get when scoring. They are decisive players".
"We know the importance of Marcelo. He’s going in to it in the best form of his career. He doesn’t live in the past, he lives from what he is doing now. He always wants more and to help the team. What he's doing lately shows that he's a great player".
Francescoli, Simeone and Mono Burgos
"Francescoli was my idol and seeing him is a pleasure. When we see each other, we talk about what we are doing today. Simeone and Mono Burgos are doing a phenomenal job for their team. I have a lot of respect for el Mono and I know him. I don’t know Simeone, just from playing against him, but I have a lot of respect for what he does because he is a very experienced coach".