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Emery: Valencia must suppress the spirit of Simeone to overcome Atletico Madrid

Los Che boss has been very impressed by the way in which the Argentine has breathed new life into the Rojiblancos since taking charge in December

Valencia boss Unai Emery has paid tribute to the way in which Diego Simeone has reinvigorated Atletico Madrid since his arrival at the club ahead of Thursday night's Europa League semi-final first-leg clash at the Vicente Calderon.

Despite their faltering form, Los Che go into the game in the Spanish capital as marginal favourites given they currently sit third in La Liga, while their hosts lie eighth.

However, Emery knows full well that Rojiblancos legend Simeone, who returned to the club as coach during the winter break, will have his players ready for the visit of Los Che.

"The arrival of 'Cholo' has aroused the enthusiasm of the Atletico players because of what he represents," the Valencia boss told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.

"He is a coach who conveys a lot of energy, who has achieved great things in his career and has had a very positive effect on every team.

"Tomorrow Atletico will have all of that on the pitch with them and that's what we have to control in order to beat them."

Consequently, Emery is hoping that his team, including Spain striker Roberto Soldado, step up to the mark in the Spanish capital.

"Tomorrow is an important day for the players," he argued. "These are games where players have to have the capacity to make a difference.

"This may be a clear reference point for Roberto [in his career]. It should not be a source of pressure for him, but rather a natural step in his growth [as a player]."

Valencia's meeting with Atletico gets under way at 21.05CET.