Speaking to So Foot, Atletico Madrid defender Reinildo Mandava has hailed Diego Simeone as ‘the best coach in the world’.
Reinildo joined Atletico Madrid during the January transfer window earlier this year and has quickly become a key member of Simeone’s setup. A left-back by trade, he has been used as a left-sided centre-back in the three-man defence by the Colchoneros manager regularly.
Reinildo has made a solid impression whenever called upon and can be counted as one of the regular starters in Simeone’s plans.
And the 28-year-old Mozambique international has claimed that he respects Simeone massively, while adding that Cholo is one of the best coaches in the world currently.
“I feel good in the team and I’m not afraid of the coach. It is not necessary to scare his players. On the other hand, I have a lot of respect for Diego because he is probably the best coach in the world, his work is fantastic,” he said.
Talking about the general perception that Simeone can be a demanding person to work with, Reinildo said: “Before coming, I heard people say to me ‘Be careful, Simeone is very demanding.’ But the requirement, I love that! I took this challenge as an honour.
“Thanks to his knowledge, I listen and I learn. I am a hard worker and as I like it I am 120% all the time. With Simeone, I’m like a fish in water.”
Atletico Madrid face off against local rivals Real Madrid later tonight in La Liga. And Reinildo opened up on the duel that awaits him against the likes of Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo Goes, saying:
“Honestly, I’m not one to remember the names of my direct opponents. Vinícius, we talk about him a lot at the moment so I know him. I know that we will have to be even more careful with him because he is fast and dangerous, he is a great player.
“But I am first and foremost a footballer, I just have to do my job and stay in constant contact with my teammates. I feel ready to face it, it will be interesting.”
Talking about the importance of the derby, he added: “This one is so prestigious. We will fight to win so that our supporters can be happy and can have their moment of glory against a historic opponent.
“In this type of match, each duel won is important. I already won this derby last year, and I want to relive that experience. 2-0 or 3-0 is fine with me!”
When asked if he saw any similarities between Simeone and his former LOSC Lille manager Christophe Galtier, Reinildo replied:
“They have similarities in the way of reading matches. Simeone, his game science is fantastic. In some of his analysis, I am there listening to him and admiring him. It is truly an honour for me to be a member of his squad. That makes me happy.”
Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”
Following a 1-1 draw in their Champions League opener against Lazio, Atletico Madrid will shift all their attention to La Liga, as they brace themselves for the derby against Real Madrid this weekend.
Heading into this game, Atleti midfielder Marcos Llorente spoke about Real Madrid’s quality and Atletico Madrid’s chances of squeezing all three points from this iconic derby.
Llorente on Madrid derby
“The sensations are good. The team is very good, the other day we played a great game despite ending up drawing. I really think that the team did a great job that must be maintained for this match,” Llorente said in an interview with Diario AS.
When asked whether or not Real Madrid being tagged as favourites could aid Atleti, the midfielder said, “Honestly, it neither motivates me nor demotivates me. We simply have to do what we work on during the week, what the coach asks of us.”
Llorente stressed the importance of the game, adding, “It is a great rival we have in front of us, they are having a very good start to the season and that motivates me and everyone to try to play a good game.”
“Real Madrid is a great club, they have great players and it is very difficult to beat them. I think we have competed, we have also achieved several draws, but in the end, either you go out one hundred percent and do things very, very well or it is difficult to beat them,” he added.
A former member of the Real Madrid youth academy, Llorente joined Atletico Madrid in 2019. Since then, he has racked up over 150 competitive appearances for Los Colchoneros.
Llorente, though, said he feels no sense of vindication when he performs well against his former team.
“No. In the end, it’s been many years since I left there and I’m at Atlético. Perhaps in the first years, those types of feelings and sensations can arise, but today they no longer do,” he said.
Llorente on Vinicius, Koke & Bellingham
The Atletico Madrid star went on to talk about other aspects of the game, including the fact that his team had one less player every time they faced Real Madrid last season.
“I have zero worries. These are things that are not in our remit, that escape our hands. We play football, the referees referee and those who have to decide decide,” he said.
Llorente, in fact, said that the return of Koke could be a real boost for Atleti. “It is always good that Koke is with us, both on the field and in the day-to-day life of the game,” he said.
“Beyond the grass. The support he gives, the advice he gives us, his experience. it is always important to have him and it is great news that he is already training with us,” he added.
Talking about the absence of Vinicius Junior and the form of Jude Bellingham, Llorente said, “Well, you have to be careful with everyone. All Real Madrid players are very good and can make a difference at any moment of the game. Bellingham is having a great start and we have to take that into account and be very focused.”
Finally, Marcos Llorente put out a message for all the Atletico Madrid fans, claiming their support ahead of this crucial encounter this weekend.
“It will be a full house as always. We don’t have to tell them anything, they know the importance of this match for Atlético, we know that they never fail, they are always supporting us and we count on them,” he said.