Juanfran Torres optimistic Atletico Madrid can beat Rubin Kazan
Last Updated: 13/02/13 4:28pm
Juanfran Torres: Confident of an Atletico Madrid victory
Juanfran Torres is confident Atletico Madrid will beat Rubin Kazan at the Vicente Calderon in the first leg of their Europa League round-of-32 clash - if they play to the best of their capabilities.
The defending champions have won all their home games in all competitions this season and the Spain international believes they can extend that impressive run against the Russians.
"We will try and get the win, keep a clean sheet and I'm convinced that if the team play at 100% we can do that and get a good result to take with us to the return leg", he said in a press conference on Wednesday.
"In knockout matches like this it's vital you get off to a good start and play well and that's what's were going to do from the start."
Atletico lost 2-1 to Rayo Vallecano on Sunday in the Primera Division and Juanfran said he and his team-mates are relieved to have the chance to put the result behind them with a good performance tomorrow.
"The team cannot wait for the match," he said.
"When you have just lost a game all you want is for the next one to come as soon as possible.
"We've had a good season and now once again we get to play in a competition that really excites us. I'm sure the team won't be affected by the defeat to Rayo."
Atleti coach Diego Simeone indicated that he will make some changes to the side that lost on Sunday, and revealed he would be rotating his squad from now until the end of the season as the club compete on three fronts - the league, the Copa del Rey and the Europa League.
"The team have been responding well to the physical demands, but we have struggled to play well away from home," he said.
"Now we have a lot of games in a short space of time and we have to have everyone available. We have to choose our rotations wisely so we can be competitive in all three competitions."
Diego Costa is suspended for the game after being sent off against Viktoria Plzen in the last group game, meaning Adrian Lopez will start in attack behind Radamel Falcao, who is set to make his first appearance in the Europa League this season after being rested during the group stage.
And Simeone hopes that tomorrow night the Colombian forward can recapture the same understanding he had with Adrian on the pitch last season.
"Diego wasn't with us last year and Adrian played very well then and really helped Falcao," he said.
"He [Falcao] is improving and he will be in even better shape tomorrow. He is no better or worse when playing with Diego Costa, and the presence of Adrian will be very good for him."
Simeone is wary that Rubin Kazan beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou three seasons ago in the Champions League and knows the Russians will not be easy opponents.
"I don't think Barcelona dismiss any team lightly and we respect Rubin and know of their potential," he said.
"We'll have to play with all the intensity that a competition like the Europa League demands."
Rubin Kazan have not played a competitive game since December, when the Russian Premier League began its winter break, but have been training in the south of Spain in preparation for the game with Atletico.
The Russians boast a number of former Primera Division players among their ranks, including former Athletic Bilbao midfielder Pablo Orbaiz, former Malaga forward Salomon Rondon and former Villarreal defender Ivan Marcano. France international Yann M'Vila, who joined the club in January from Rennes, could make his first competitive start for his new side.