Flores wants to cheer up Atletico fans

Atletico have had a miserable season by their own standards,
particularly in a run of one win in 11 Primera Division matches at
the start of the campaign which saw former coach Abel Resino lose
his job in October. Things have improved bit by bit under Sanchez
Flores and, though they remain a relatively lowly 10th in the
league, they hold the slight edge heading into Thursday’s game
having drawn 2-2 at the Mestalla in the first leg. “It was
difficult to anticipate the scenario the team is now in,” Sanchez
Flores, a former player and coach at Valencia, said on Atletico’s
website. “The important thing is to be aware of where we were to
enjoy this more if possible. “Our fans are very excited and have
the opportunity to qualify for a European semi-final. “It’s
positive and exciting and we look forward to giving our fans
something new to cheer about.” It could have been better for
Atletico at the Mestalla had David Villa not grabbed an equaliser
eight minutes from time. That goal could prove crucial as
Atletico’s home form has proved disappointing in Europe this term.
They failed to win a single home game in the Champions League group
stage and have also drawn with both Galatasaray and Sporting Lisbon
at the Vicente Calderon since dropping into the Europa League.
There may be a slight sense of deja vu in the Valencia camp, as
they progressed in the last round after drawing the home leg
against Werder Bremen – albeit in extraordinary circumstances as
the second leg in Germany finished 4-4. “We did it the difficult
way in Germany and we are capable of repeating that in Madrid,”
David Silva told www.uefa.com. Ever Banega and Bruno are banned for
Valencia, who also have a plethora of injury worries. Among those
sidelined are Carlos Marchena and David Albelda, as well as
defenders Luis Miguel, Jeremy Mathieu and Angel Dealbert. Jose
Antonio Reyes and Juan Valera are doubts for Atletico, but Luis
Perea, who missed Sunday’s 3-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna through
suspension, is free to return.