Ex­pe­ri­ence won’t help Atletico too much in Europa de­cider: Sime­one

Belfast Telegraph - - SPORT - BY ROBERT JONES

DIEGO Sime­one has played down the sig­nif­i­cance of Atletico Madrid’s big-game ex­pe­ri­ence ahead of tonight’s Europa League fi­nal against Mar­seille in Lyon (7.45pm).

The Ar­gen­tinian (be­low) guided Atletico to suc­cess in the com­pe­ti­tion in 2012, a vic­tory which pro­vided a spring­board for runs to the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nals of 2014 and 2016.

They also won La Liga in 2014 and Sime­one hopes to make use of those ex­pe­ri­ences against the French side tonight, but he con­cedes they will not make a huge dif­fer­ence.

Sime­one said: “Ex­pe­ri­ence is a lit­tle thing that can help but it’s not go­ing to have too much in­flu­ence. We’ll be ex­cited, but also tense.

“We need to take the game where we want it and do dam­age where we can.”

With the likes of Dim­itri Payet and Flo­rian Thau­vin shin­ing in at­tack, Mar­seille have im­pressed through­out the cam­paign.

Sime­one said: “We’re two sim­i­lar sides. It’ll be a great fi­nal.”

Sime­one him­self will have to watch from afar as he con­tin­ues to serve a touch­line ban for his dis­missal dur­ing the first leg of his side’s semi-fi­nal against Ar­se­nal in Lon­don.

The match is the first of two op­por­tu­ni­ties Mar­seille will have to qual­ify for next sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League, as they can still snatch third in Ligue 1.

Cap­tain Payet, the for­mer West Ham play­maker, said: “We will play with our heart.”

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