Premier League

Simeone a big fan of Suarez

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Wed, 08 May 2013 15:56:00

Nigel Pearson does not think the contrasting emotions experienced by his Leicester side and Watford on the final day of the Championship season will have too much bearing on the play-off semi-final.

While the Foxes were celebrating sneaking into the play-offs on goal difference courtesy of Anthony Knockaert's injury-time winner against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Saturday, Watford were left to rue failing to capitalise on Hull's home draw with champions Cardiff.

A victory for the Hornets against Leeds would have seen Gianfranco Zola's team pinch second spot and automatic promotion to the Premier League, but they conceded a last-minute goal to lose 2-1 at Vicarage Road.

Leicester manager Pearson does not expect Watford to suffer any hangover when they arrive at the King Power Stadium on Thursday evening for the first leg of the semi-final.

He said: "I think Gianfranco will be quite balanced with his views on what happened.

"Perhaps it is natural that there will be an element of disappointment that they didn't go up automatically, but I don't think they were favourites to do that anyway heading into the final game.

"Gianfranco will know that, he is a realist. They have had a really good season and if he needs to pick up his players, I'm sure he will do that.

"Hopefully our experience will have a positive influence on the group.

"But the mood here has been good anyway. Even though we have not been winning many matches the mood has remained positive.

"I think going through experiences like Saturday could affect the group, but there are no guarantees that makes life easy.

"How the media will build the two games up, I am not too sure. But both groups have to get their focus pretty quickly because the games come quickly this week and we have to get prepared."

Watford are arguably slight favourites heading into the tie having won both league meetings 2-1 this season, including most recently at the King Power Stadium just 11 days ago.

Leicester's 3-2 victory at Forest was only their third win in the last 17 league matches but Foxes midfielder Andy King, who scored the second goal at the City Ground, believes all that counts for nothing heading into this week's two games.

"The run we have been on is irrelevant now, so is the fact that they have beaten us already this season," said King.

"We start again because now we go into this game on a high and we know what Watford are all about.

"We learned our lessons from the last time we played them and when we go out there it will be a totally different game."

Ritchie De Laet and Paul Konchesky are both expected to be fit for the Foxes.

Right-back De Laet limped out of Saturday's thrilling win at Forest after a kick on the calf, while left-back Konchesky underwent a minor hernia operation last week and missed the trip to the City Ground.

However, both players were due to resume training on Tuesday ahead of being in the squad on Thursday night.

Atleti are expected to have a huge war-chest to strengthen their squad for their return to the Champions League with star striker Radamel Falcao likely to be sold for big money.

After Suarez's latest controversy, which saw him bite Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, Atletico have been linked with a move for the Uruguayan.

"I cannot speak badly about Luis Suarez, he is extraordinary," Simeone told a press conference on Wednesday.

"But we have a game coming up that means we have to leave other matters aside."

Simeone was asked about other potential summer targets and spoke candidly about his admiration for River Plate's Augusto Fernandez, who he coached at the club in 2008

"He's grown an enormous amount; as a young player he performed well and he's one of the key players alongside Iago Aspas," he added.

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