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Simeone wary of wily Wenger in Europa League semis

Arsene Wenger is a "very important coach" who makes Arsenal a tricky prospect in the Europa League semi-finals, according to Diego Simeone.

NEWS
News 14 Apr 2018, 19:49 IST
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Diego Simeone
Atletico coach Diego Simeone

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone says he is learning more than ever this season and expects another examination of his managerial abilities from Arsene Wenger.

The Rojiblancos were drawn against Arsenal in the Europa League semi-finals on Friday having narrowly ousted Sporting CP in the previous round.

The 2-1 aggregate victory put them within touching distance of a third appearance in the competition's final in the space of nine seasons, Simeone having masterminded victory in 2012.

But, amid a campaign where Simeone is "learning most about being a coach", the 47-year-old is braced for a difficult battle with Wenger.

"With their history they are a very strong rival," Simeone said of the Gunners.

"They have a very important coach who is very capable with plenty of experience and quality footballers.

"We know English football and at home they are very strong. It is a 50-50."

Atleti secured a place in the final four despite losing 1-0 at Sporting in the second leg of the quarter-finals.

Highly-rated goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who is reportedly attracting interest from across Europe, produced a couple of key saves to maintain his side's advantage and earned the admiration of his coach.

"Jan is the best goalkeeper in the world and I hope he continues with us," Simeone said.

"He has a contract with us and I hope he remains happy and continues growing as he is today.

"All the teams that end up winning have great goalkeepers. I've never seen a champion team with a bad goalkeeper."

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