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Espanyol will face the reigning Europa League champs in its pending La Liga clash on Sunday.

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Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone knows a thing or two about impressive defensive play. The former Argentine national teamer was a standout in defensive midfield for clubs like Sevilla, Inter and Lazio in his playing days.

Thus, Espanyol and Mexico national team defender Hector Moreno should consider Simeone's compliment as high praise. Prior to their Liga BBVA match on Sunday, Simeone singled out the former AZ Alkmaar player as a surprising talent.

"[Espanyol] has a center back, Moreno, who surprised me in a good way," Simeone said in a press conference. "He's a kid who plays very well and has good capabilities to go up front," he continued.

Moreno will have a somewhat easier job to do with Colombian striker Radamel Falcao expected to miss the match due to injury. Simeone attempted to minimize the absence.

"The objective is not to cover for Radamel. The team is fine, there's a lot of internal competition, players are anxious to play and we will be on the pitch with the people who can give us the best results," the former River Plate manager told the media.

Espanyol will host the Colchoneros in a vital early season match, as the Barcelona side has accumulated just one point in five matches. Atletico will attempt to keep pushing along after a fantastic start, as Simeone's side sits third and undefeated with 13 points.

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