Sanchez Flores cautious ahead of Liverpool tie
Atletico Madrid coach Quique Sanchez Flores doubts there is any result his side could get in tomorrow's Europa League semi-final first leg against Liverpool that will allow him to rest easy ahead of the return at Anfield.Atletico have had plenty of ups and downs this season but they are still in with a chance of winning two trophies, having already reached the final of the Copa del Rey while also making the last four of the Europa League.
Tomorrow night the Spanish club will hope to take a step closer to what would be their first major European final since 1986 when they host Liverpool at the Vicente Calderon, but Sanchez Flores has warned that nothing will be decided until after next week`s return meeting in England.
"I don't see any result possible that will give us piece of mind for the return at Anfield," admitted Sanchez Flores.
"Playing at Anfield is always uncomfortable, it doesn't matter what result you get in the first leg. Liverpool are a team that are capable of bouncing back and having great games.
"The important thing for us will be the collective mindset that we have, as this competition always gives very close scorelines in the first leg.
"I don't think that the tie, which is 50-50, will be decided at the Vicente Calderon. What I'm sure about is that we will have to play at a very high level."
Atletico are no strangers to tight matches in Europe this season.
In their three Europa League ties since dropping out of the Champions League, Atletico have twice squeezed through on away goals - against Sporting Lisbon and Valencia - and only got past Galatasaray 3-2 on aggregate thanks to an injury-time strike in the second leg.
The Rojiblancos have, though, bounced back well from their disappointing Champions League campaign, where they failed to win a single match in the group stages, and Sanchez Flores wants his side to recover that fighting quality tomorrow night and put their poor recent form behind them.
Atletico have lost four of their past five La Liga matches and have only won twice in 10 competitions matches.
"The fundamental difference needs to be our mentality, the way we go out in matches, the intensity, the concentration...we have to recover the way we've been playing in this competition, which has got us to the semi-finals," Sanchez Flores said.
Atletico captain Antonio Lopez added: "It's true that our latest results in the league have not been what we wanted, but we need to continue forward.
"This is another competition, in which we've done well and been strong, and we want to maintain that."
Atletico received a boost this week when it was confirmed that Liverpool's star striker Fernando Torres was ruled out of both semi-final legs against his former club due to injury.
The Primera Division outfit are missing one of their key players as well though, with the highly-rated Argentinian forward Sergio Aguero suspended for tomorrow night`s encounter.
When asked about the respective losses for both teams, Sanchez Flores said: "To start with we regret the absence of Torres because we knew how much he wanted to play at the Vicente Calderon.
"In any case, the loss of Aguero is at least at the same level. These types of players make the difference, especially at home."