Heading into this weekend’s La Liga fixtures, Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres has reiterated he and his teammates are being constantly reminded of the importance of Saturday’s encounter with Espanyol, even though fans may have one eye on the club’s important Champions League return leg against Bayer Leverkusen next week.
Atletico are facing elimination from European competition after losing to Leverkusen 1-0 during the first leg in Germany.
Next week’s decisive match at the Vicente Calderon has been the talk around the Spanish capital. However, Torres says the team is completely focused on taking care of their domestic responsibilities, and will turn their attention towards the Champions League after Saturday’s match in Catalonia.
“We are reminded every day, at each training session and at every minute that the match is the one against Espanyol,” Torres said.
“We all know what comes afterwards and how important it is, but if we win at Espanyol, we’re going further up on the table and will face the next match with more confidence.”
Torres emphasized the team’s approach to the match against Espanyol is in-line with the club’s philosophy under manager Diego Simeone, which is to play every match like a cup final.
“Atletico is going to win every match, that’s why you have to look upwards,” the forward added. “If you look backwards, the ones behind you will get closer. If you look up, the ones behind will be further away. It is something the team has always done.”
The on loan striker from AC Milan has enjoyed a fantastic homecoming in Madrid. After tumultuous times in England and Italy, Torres has settled back into his boyhood club and played some of his best football in recent months. The 30-year-old said he feels comfortable being home in Spain and is energized by returning to the club where his professional career began.
“I’m happy of being at home,” Torres concluded. “Happy to be back, of contributing to the team what the coach asks of me and looking forward to enjoying the sporting successes. And that involves winning every weekend.”
Programming note: Espanyol vs. Atletico Madrid will be shown LIVE on Saturday starting at 10:55am EST on beIN SPORT en Español and DishWorld.