Juventus as good as Barca, Real Madrid - Simeone
02 October 2014, 10:59
Madrid - Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone believes Italian champions Juventus are as good as Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid despite his side inflciting Juve's first defeat of the season in a 1-0 win on Wednesday.
"For me they are at the level of Madrid or Barcelona," said the Argentine.
"Watching the videos over and over, they are one of the hardest teams I have seen to attack or cause damage against.
"They have two magnificent strikers, full-backs or wingers that attack and defend, brilliant players in midfield and an enormous goalkeeper that everyone knows."
Simeone's men have made a habit of upsetting Barca and Real in recent seasons as they broke their 10-year long dominance of La Liga by winning the Spanish league title last season.
Arda Turan's stike 15 minutes from time was enough to add Juventus to their list of big-name scalps and breathe new life into Atletico's Champions League campaign after a surprise 3-2 defeat to Olympiakos on matchday one.
Malmo's 2-0 victory over the Greeks leaves all four sides in Group A on three points after two games, but Simeone insisted that Juventus remain the team to beat.
"I wouldn't say we have recovered from the defeat (against Olympiakos), with four teams on three points it all starts over, but it could be that Juventus will be the strongest team in the group."
For Juventus there was yet more disappointment on the road in the Champions League after their shock elimination at the groyp stages in last season's competition.
The Old Lady of Italian football has now lost four of its last five away games in Europe's premier club compeition and captian Gianluigi Buffon admitted that is a record they must improve on.
"Now all we can do is look at the games we have at home, but we have to improve when we are playing away."
Buffon had hinted in his pre-match press conference that Juventus would have been happy to come away from the Vicente Calderon with a point.
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And he recognised that a more daring approach may also be required if they are to progress to the later stages of the competition after failing to even egister a shot on target.
"Atletico are an elite team in European football and it could be that influenced our thinking.
"In any case, to mature as a team on the international level we need to risk more in looking for the victory."
Turan's goal ended Buffon's five-match run without conceding to start the season as Juventus had made a 100 percent start to the new campaign under new boss Massimiliano Allegri.
In a game of very few clear-cut chances, the Turkish international stole in ahead of Stephan Lichsteiner to convert Juanfran's cross and Allegri rued his side's lack of killer instinct at both ends of the field.
"They took advantage of their only chance. We go away with a defeat after playing very well, but it is clear we have paid dearly for that one error," he said.
"In the first-half we didn't have very many chances, but in the second we had three or four clear ones on counter-attacks where we failed with the last pass."