Simeone: Courtois won’t be fazed by Chelsea showdown
Diego Simeone is sure that Thibaut Courtois will not be fazed by his first appearance at Stamford Bridge
Diego Simeone insists that Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will not be fazed by the occasion as he prepares for his first game at Stamford Bridge.
The highly-rated shot-stopper has been in impressive form for the La Liga side during his third successive season-long loan at Atletico and kept a clean sheet in last week’s Champions League semi-final first leg in Spain.
I think he’ll be able to handle the pressure and atmosphere with no problems
And Atletico boss Simeone is sure that the 21-year-old, who has not featured for the Blues since joining the club from Genk in a £7m deal back in 2011, will shine under the spotlight in his first appearance in west London.
“I think he’ll be able to handle the pressure and atmosphere with no problems,” said Simeone.
“I think he’s working hard to compete and be one of the best goalkeepers but at the moment he still needs the time to mature and grow.”
Chelsea v Atletico Madrid: Pre-match facts
• Chelsea have won only one of their four previous Uefa competition semi-finals against Spanish opponents, against Barcelona in the 2011-12 Champions League semi-finals. They lost to the same opponents in that competition in 2009 and, in the Cup Winners’ Cup, against Mallorca (1998/99) and Real Zaragoza (1994-95).
• Diego Simeone’s men have won three and drawn two of their five away games in this season’s competition and have won ten of their last 14 away games in European competition, losing just two.
• Born in the Madrid suburb of Fuenlabrada, Fernando Torres became Atletico’s youngest captain at 19 and scored 84 goals in 214 Liga appearances for the Rojiblancos before joining Liverpool in 2007.
• Samuel Eto’o’s 12 goals in all competitions this season have all come at home.