Atletico are eight points clear but Simeone used his pre match press conference to calm expectations of a first win in the derby since the turn of the millenium.
“We know the people are excited and we will not move away from their feelings, but we are facing a powerful team, the reigning champions,” he said.
“I have admiration for Mourinho. He is a winner and has shown that worldwide. I went to see him one week when he was at Inter. He is a trainer that I like.
“There are not nine points at stake, but three. We must show we are competitive and play a great game. They are the best opponent possible; they need points, like any opponent coming off a loss.”
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The reputation of the Premier League means it is the most popular and one of the most watched leagues in the world.
Five English clubs will compete in the last sixteen of the Champions League for the first time ever as Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham face some difficult away matches.