Leicester City will face Spanish side Atletico Madrid tonight and for the third time in European competition.
Both teams have played each other over a two-legged tie in the 1961/62 Cup Winners Cup and 1997/98 UEFA Cup, meaning that 25% of the Foxes’ European fixtures have come against a familiar foe, Atletico (4 out of 16). With the Spanish side advancing on both occasions.
However, Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare says that the current Premier League champions will be out to cause problems for the Spanish side.
“In terms of life experiences you use them as you go along, you have new ones and this is one for us in the Champions League this season,” he told a pre-match press conference.
“We have enjoyed it but make no mistake we’re there to compete and not to make the numbers up. These players deserve this opportunity and we aim to keep that going.”
Fernando Torres has warned Atletico Madrid to respect Leicester ’s “great team”. Torres, who has seven goals for Atletico this season, said “Too many teams have underestimated Leicester – and we are not going to be one of them. “Leicester did not win the Premier League because they were lucky. They are not the last English team left in the competition because they are lucky.
“Everything they have achieved is because they are a great team who have worked hard – all their success is deserved. Others can use the word favourites but nobody here will be. We don’t consider ourselves favourites – we are looking ahead to two very tough games against the champions of England.”
Leicester overturned a 2-1 first leg deficit in the return leg against Sevilla, to set up this quarter-final.
Atletico were Champions League runners-up last season and also in 2014, Torres, 33, added: “What we do have is experience.
“We are used to playing at this stage of the competition and I hope that we can use that to our advantage. They are not going to be easy games. Hopefully our experience will give us the edge.”
Wes Morgan will miss out on the game as he continues to struggle with a back problem, while Wilfred N’Didi will be available after missing out against Everton at the weekend. N’Didi, along with Robert Huth, Islam Slimani and Jamie Vardy, are all one bookable offence away from missing next week’s second leg.
Atletico Madrid midfielder Nico Gaitan will be available for selection after recovering from a toe injury and forward Kevin Gameiro and goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya remain sidelined with hamstring injuries.
Atletico Madrid have also kept a clean sheet in 15 of their last 17 Champions League games at the Calderón.
Leicester City are the first team since Malaga in 2012/13 to reach the quarter-finals on their Champions League debut.
Leicester has won 4 of their last 5 matches and lost one, the 4-2 loss against Everton. Atletico Madrid has won 3 and drawn 2 of their last 5 matches.
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