Atletico one of the best in Europe, claims Jemez

Rayo Vallecano coach Paco Jemez has lavished praise on Atletico Madrid ahead of his team's derby clash with Los Rojiblancos on Monday at the Estadio de Vallecas.

Football News: Atletico Madrid

Atletico have remained in second place in La Liga for the majority of this season and Jemez is more than aware of the challenge facing his team.

"Atletico are one of the best teams in Europe and being able to play against them is a source of pride and motivation for us," Jemez said at his pre-match press conference.

"I think they are in very good form and are doing everything the right way and they have one of the best squads in the league."

Rayo will be without full-back Tito, who is suspended, as is Atletico forward Diego Costa, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Rayo.

However, Jemez declared that neither team can have any complaints.

"We have one of the smallest squads and every week we have to perform a balancing act to have an 18-man squad available, so don't talk to me about having players out," he said.

Atletico are one of the teams that have shown a keen interest in signing Rayo's Brazilian forward Leo Baptistao but Jemez is certain that the 20-year-old will not be distracted by the speculation when he takes to the pitch on Monday.

"He is doing fine and he has to stay calm, because a situation has occurred with regards to him that never should have occurred," he said.

"The only thing I want to know is what he's going to do next week, not where he's going to play next season. If at any point I see that he is affected and is not giving his all, he'll leave the team. But I don't see that happening. This is a very professional team."

Atletico full-back Filipe Luis said he would look favourably on his compatriot Baptistao becoming his team-mate in the future.

"I would love it if he came here. He is a great player, he's young, quick and scores goals and is desperate to succeed," the Brazilian said.

Speaking at a press conference, Luis called Rayo "a solid team" and stressed it would be tough to leave Vallecas with the three points.

"Vallecas is a very difficult place to go. They have clear ideas of how they want to play. They have players of a lot of quality and keep possession well," he said.

"They make you feel uncomfortable because, as well as playing well, they press you very hard. That's why they are where they are in the league. We have to make sure we don't commit errors and stay focused."

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