Bjelica expects tough fight against Atletico

Austria Vienna coach Nenad Bjelica hopes his players can counter the class of Atletico Madrid with hard work.

Nenad Bjelica

Austria go into Tuesday's Champions League clash having performed admirably in their first two Group G games, a hard-fought draw at Zenit St Petersburg following up a narrow home defeat to Porto.

Bjelica accepts his side will need to raise their level further against one of the in-form teams in Europe, but he was in bullish mood as he assessed the tie.

"We have seen that we can compete with anybody. Belief in us has grown," he said in the Kronen Zeitung.

"Atletico's players are only footballers like us, maybe with a little more quality. But with more effort you can compensate.

"You are only an outsider if you believe you're an outsider."

Bjelica was quick to acknowledge the success Atletico boss Diego Simeone has brought to the Rojiblancos - the club landing the 2012 Europa League title and the Copa del Rey crown last season under his stewardship.

"He has brought more titles than any other coach in the past few years," he added.

"And with a squad that cannot compare with teams like Real Madrid or Barcelona.

"(Radamel) Falcao has now gone and Atletico are still strong and having success."

Atletico come into the game looking to bounce back from their first competitive defeat since May at the weekend.

Simeone's men went down 1-0 at Espanyol to lose their 100 per cent Primera Division record and slip a point behind leaders Barcelona.

Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld made his debut in the match at Estadi Cornella-El Prat and is eager to make amends in the Austrian capital.

"You can not always win and we know it," he told www.clubatleticodemadrid.

"We did the best we could and we had chances to draw or win the game.

"We have to carry on and now we are thinking of getting three points in the Champions League to help forget the defeat against Espanyol."

The visitors may be without star striker Diego Costa, who injured an ankle against Espanyol.



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