Group D Kick-off 19-45 (BST)
New Atletico coach Quique Sánchez Flores acknowledged that he may have arrived too late to save his club’s Champions League campaign, but still promised to go for broke against Group D leaders Chelsea on Tuesday.
“Our objective is to stay alive in the three competitions we’re in, but realistically to play in the Europa League wouldn’t be bad as our goal is to continue in Europe,” he admitted.
“I haven’t had a lot of time to train the team so I’ve been working hard on the psychological aspect. Now we have two big matches against Chelsea and Real Madrid which will serve as extra motivation for the players and supporters. I’m not thinking about keeping players back for the Madrid game, and will put out my strongest team against Chelsea.
“Chelsea are a strong team with a lot of quality so we’ll have to be at 100 per cent to beat them, but the atmosphere inside the Calderón will be intense for them. We have a lot more to gain from this game than lose and have to be positive and optimistic.”
Opposite number Carlo Ancelotti can take confidence from a 4-0 victory in the corresponding fixture a fortnight ago, and the fact that leading striker Didier Drogba is available again after suspension.
“I haven’t spoken to Drogba about last season,” revealed Ancelotti. “I only spoke to him about being out for the last three games – I said to him to prepare for when he returns, ready to work for the team.
“[In the last four games, which Chelsea have all won, scoring 17 goals without conceding] we’ve played good football. At this moment the team has a good idea of how to go on the pitch and play good football for 90 minutes. I’m happy because in my three months we have improved.
“We have respect for Atlético because they have very good players. Agüero is one of the most important in the world. He is very young, a fantastic striker, with a lot of quality. Now is not a good moment for them, but they have the quality to get out of this period. Flores is a good coach. He had a good experience at Valencia and I think he can do a good job at Atlético Madrid.”