Updated: Wednesday, 09 April 2014 01:21 | By Agence France-Presse

Adrian ready to step into Costa's shoes - Simeone

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone believes bit-part striker Adrian Lopez is up to the task of replacing top scorer Diego Costa for his side's Champions League quarter-final, second leg at home to Barcelona on Wednesday.


Adrian ready to step into Costa's shoes - Simeone

Atletico Madrid's Argentinian coach Diego Simeone attends a press conference on the eve of the UEFA Champions League quarter final football match Club Atletico de Madrid vs Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on April 8, 2014 - by Javier Soriano

Costa is a major doubt for the match due to a hamstring injury that forced him off just half an hour into last week's 1-1 draw in the first leg.

Adrian has scored just twice this season in 31 appearances, but Simeone insisted he will partner former Barca striker David Villa in attack if Costa doesn't recover in time.

"Any player has at least to be at a minimum of 90 percent to play, if he is at 50 percent he cannot play, it doesn't matter if it is Costa, (Diego) Godin or Miranda.

"If he doesn't play Adrian will. It will be a great opportunity for him. He offers us a lot and I have full confidence in him."

Atletico continue to also lead the way in La Liga, a point ahead of Barcelona, with just six games remaining. However, both sides struggled physically on their way to wins at the weekend and Simeone is counting on the crowd at the Vicente Calderon to lift his players energy levels after a long season.

"We have had a great season and of course it has been hard for the players. We are still competing and that is due to the great physical work of the players.

"To work with positive energy is very important and it is vital to have that energy in the stadium tomorrow night."

All four meetings between Atletico and Barca so far this season have ended in draws with both sides managing to score just twice.

Simeone admitted that his side hold a slight advantage heading into the return leg thanks to Diego's stunning away goal at the Camp Nou.

However, the Argentine said Barca's recent 4-3 win away to Real Madrid was a warning that this Barca side still have the ability to turn the tie in their favour with a moment of brilliance.

"There is minimal advantage for us, but given the characteristics of the Barcelona team they always play in the same manner. They want to attack and dominate the game, they never play to defend.

"There are still 90 or 120 minutes left to play, they are experts in scoring and we just need to remember the four goals they scored at the Bernabeu. Moreover, they have a lot of experience in this type of game."

Atletico captain Gabi, meanwhile, claimed the players are enjoying their success too much to let tiredness affect them in the remaining six weeks of the season.

"We are in the best form of our lives. Nobody is tired. We want to finish the season as we started it. From now on we will see the best Atletico of the whole year."

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