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Simeone wants 90 mins of deafening noise inside Atleti stadium

Today in Madrid will undoubtedly be a spectacle.

On a normal match day, Atletico’s stadium, the Vicente Calderon, is one of the loudest and most intimidating grounds in European soccer. But tonight, the stadium – which was inaugurated in 1966 when it was called the Estadio Manzanares – will have its foundation shaken to the core by 55,000 supporters as Atletico Madrid attempt to overcome a 1-0 first leg deficit against Bayer Leverkusen.

With the reigning Spanish champions dropped to fourth place in La Liga this weekend, the match against Bayer 04 has taken on an even greater importance for the Madrid club.

Atletico now trail Barcelona by nine points in the league table with eleven matches to play. The likelihood of Los Colchoneros catching the Catalan club is near impossible at this point with the way Barcelona have been performing in recent months. So Atletico’s Champions League progression has taken on even greater significance with its manager and players.

Diego Simeone has nurtured a culture in Madrid where the coaches, players and supporters are all one collective unit. Each feeds off the energy of the other in order to push the squad to greater performance levels. If one of the components isn’t matching the expectations of the manager, Simeone will scream and wave his arms with encouragement to provoke the necessary reaction.

Over the past three years, what the Argentine boss has fostered in Madrid has been perhaps one the greatest footballing renaissances in the history of the sport.

Atletico Madrid has won 20 of their last 22 European matches at the Calderon. Their only defeat came against FC Rubin Kazan in the Europa League round of 32 in February 2013.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Diego Simeone urged his passionate supporters to “rock” the Calderon for 90 minutes against Bayer Leverkusen, and doesn’t want to hear a moment’s silence in the stadium until well after the final whistle is blown.

“I want to see the Calderon at its best – noisy and pushing us to do what we have to do,” Simeone said on Monday. “I hope the stadium isn’t silent for even one minute [on Tuesday]. I expect and hope for ninety minutes of deafening noise inside the ground.”

Atletico have struggled with a poor disciplinary record this season, and will be without Tiago and influential defender Diego Godin for today’s game.

However, Simeone will be able to call on Miranda – despite the fact the center-back received a straight red card this weekend for a vicious elbow against Espanyol – to partner alongside Jose Gimenez at the center of Atletico’s defense.

The manager will not waver in his team’s approach, since Atletico have accumulated numerous trophies playing this all-out style of soccer for the past three seasons. Simeone expects his team to come flying out of the gates on Tuesday night.

“We need to break quickly when they lose the ball in order to create plenty of space going forward,” the manager added. “We didn’t put them under enough pressure in the first leg and were unable to play the direct game we needed to.”

“The best way to win is by playing football. In life and football there are times when things don’t go well. We have to keep working and keeping the faith.”

Programming note: Atletico Madrid vs. Bayer Leverkusen will be shown LIVE on Tuesday at 3:45pm EST on FOX Sports 2 and FoxSoccer2Go.


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