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Ancelotti: Simeone doing a great job at Atletico
Feb 04, 2014 8:54 PM EST
Carlo Ancelotti has praised Diego Simeone ahead of the Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg clash between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
Atletico sit three points clear of Real and champions Barcelona at the top of La Liga, and are looking to defend the cup title they won by beating Real in last year's final.
And Ancelotti believes Atletico must be considered serious contenders for more silverware this season, despite Simeone's efforts to cool expectations.
"Simeone is doing a great job and has a great team," he said. "He says they are not favourites to win the title to get rid of pressure.
"Every derby or Clasico is the most important game for the club and the fans."
Atletico won 1-0 when these sides met at the Bernabeu in the league earlier in the season, and Ancelotti has promised to take a different approach this time around.
"We will play differently to the way we did last time we faced Atletico," he continued. "Atletico have maintained the same quality and are still organised. They are more confident now because they've won many games.
"Tomorrow a different Real Madrid will play to the team that played Atletico in the league."
The Italian will be boosted by the return of Gareth Bale from injury, while Cristiano Ronaldo is set to start, despite his controversial sending off in the 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
"I think we are playing well and are confident at the moment," he added. "We are balanced but we could still improve. I'm happy with the team.
"We will have the support of our fans tomorrow which is always important. We have to try to keep a clean sheet and win the game."