MADRID – Lokomotiv Moscow coach Yuri Semin said on Wednesday that Atletico Madrid – the Russian team’s rival in the Europa League round of 16 – is one of the “best teams in Europe,” adding that he often cites the squad “as an example” for his players.
Semin also confirmed that Jefferson Farfan and Ari are on the injured list and will not play in the first leg of the knockout stage.
He said he uses Atletico “as an example ... of how you have to deal with matches with all your effort and to the limit of your ability. That’s how Atletico plays. It’s their distinctive style because possibly it’s also their coach’s (style). (Diego) Simeone was also like that as a player.”
“We, too, have distinctive features and we want to demonstrate them in tomorrow’s game,” he said, adding that his team has “courage and heart” and intends to put it on display in the match at Wanda Metropolitano, Atletico’s home turf.
He said that Farfan and Ari “are two soccer players with a lot of potential, but they haven’t recovered ... enough to be able to take the risk (of playing them). A second injury would keep them out for longer.”
“The decision was not made just from talking with the doctors. I always speak with the players ... I’ve spoken with them and together we made the decision not to play in this match,” Semin said when asked on four separate occasions about Farfan and Ari.
However, he also said that Vedran Corluka, who was doubtful for the clash, has “a good chance of playing” on Thursday.