#ATLCLU: Leko ambitious as he gears up towards Atlético away

At the conclusion of Blauw-Zwart's training session at Atlético's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, Ivan Leko and Hans Vanaken offered their pre-game views at the press conference.

Ivan Leko: “We come here with ambition”

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Spain is not exactly uncharted territory to Club's T1 Ivan Leko. In his time at Málage from 2001 to 2005, the Croatian former midfielder scored against Atlético in a 2-1 win over the Madrid team back in 2004. In the meantime, Atlético seized the momentum, becoming an absolute world class outfit. Last season, the Europa League was taken to Madrid, and just a few months ago, Real Madrid was set aside in the European Supercup Final.

Ivan Leko
Ivan Leko

“We all know how Atlético and Diego Simeone play”, Leko started out. “They have their own style of playing, and are capable of going for a certain result. There's no doubt Atlético are favourites, but we want to bring our own game. If the game agaisnt Dortmund taught is something, it is that we are capable of some fine stuff at this level. I hope we can make the most of the moments we will get tomorrow, and bring pain to Atlético. It's with a good sense of ambition that we make the trip here.”

 

According to Thibaut Courtois, Atlético can be attacked on the wings. Blauw-Zwart's coach remains level-headed, however. "Their wings might not be as fantastic, but it would be unfair to call them weak. We will have to try and capitalise on finding the space in between their 4-4-2 and create danger. They will always come out on top 1 on 1, but 11 vs 11 we will be capable of showing something.”

 

Leko kept his cards close to his chest when it comes to tomorrow's Starting XI. "We will try to bring the best team at this moment to kick-off. Being able to appear on this stage, is just fantastic. Every player will now get the chance to show his worth at this level. We need to show our respect to everyone, but at the same time believe in our own strength. I reckon we are capable of something special as a team.”

 

Club's coach will be counting on his man in form, Hans Vanaken. "I'm happy with what Hans has shown in the past couple of weeks. This might well be his best form so far. He has taken many steps forward. Let's hope he can bring it to the pitch tomorrow.”

Hans Vanaken: “Need a perfect game to claim the points here”

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With some five star performances in the past couple of encounters, Hans Vanaken is playing at another level completely. The midfielder hopes he can bring the same at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. “At the draw, this was the game you were looking forward to the most. Atlético Madrid is world class. In order to claim points here, we will need a perfect game, and 100% focus in every action.”

Hans Vanaken
Hans Vanaken

Finding a breach in the Madrid organisation, that's the challenge tonight. "An excellent team in defense, everyone knows that. Diego Simeione has turned his team into a very sturdy outfit. It will be up to us to try and bypass their organisation.We will try to find the space in between midfield and defense.”

 

Text by: Steven Floin (sv)

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