Koke has been impressed with the start Thomas Tuchel has made since taking over from Frank Lampard at Chelsea and believes Atletico Madrid face a ‘very difficult’ task in qualifying for the quarter-finals of this year’s Champions League.
The two giants of European football take to the field at Bucharest’s Arena Nationala this evening for what promises to be an enthralling last-16 first-leg clash before next month’s return leg at Stamford Bridge.
Diego Simeone’s men sit top of La Liga at the halfway stage of the campaign but have suffered a slight dip in form of late, winning just one of their last four games heading into the tie.
Meanwhile, Chelsea – who have never lost an away match to their Spanish opponents – remain unbeaten in all competitions under new manager Tuchel and Koke believes Atleti will have to be at their best to progress.
“We have met in several finals, in Champions League groups, in semi-finals,” the Atletico Madrid captain told the club’s official website.
“We are two teams that know each other very well but that is past. In the end, what counts is what we do in this tie and we know the opponent we face.
“They come with a new coach and a change in dynamic and with good results.
“We have to do things very well if we want to win this tie.”