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Diego Simeone talks Griezmann, Llorente, Trippier, and his future at Atletico ahead of Levante clash

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

After their spectacular title win last season, Atletico Madrid reinforced their team with summer signings. They brought in Rodrigo de Paul in central midfield while welcoming back Antoine Griezmann on loan.

Barcelona and Real Madrid, meanwhile, did not get the chance to change drastically. It looked like Atletico’s title for the taking, but it has been far from the case.

Diego Simeone’s men sit fifth in the league, level on points with Barcelona. They are hanging on to European placed by the skin of their teeth, having conceded the most goals of any club in the top ten.

They can, however, temporarily, leapfrog Barcelona with a win against Levante tomorrow night. Ahead of the game, Simeone addressed the media as part of his traditional pre-game press conference.

On his mental state: “I’m really good. I’m calm. When everyone else gets nervous, I remain calm.”

On Levante: “Despite their current situation in La Liga, Levante attack very well. They have good offensive players that create goal-scoring chances in every game, so we must be very attentive to them. They have quick players who play well between the lines and they play very well in the final third.”

On Antoine Griezmann: “We’re happy to have Griezmann back. He’ll start training with the team on Thursday and will be ready to play against Osasuna.”

On his attackers: “Aside from Correa and Cunha, who are doing great work, we also have Luis, we have Joao. We have really important players in a determinant part of the pitch. When there is good internal competition, the team always wins.”

On his relationship with Atletico fans: “The Atleti fans I have known each other for a really long time. I will always have huge affection for this club’s people because of everything they have given me.”

“Not just now, but when I arrived as a player. Without having done anything, Atleti fans immediately accepted, wanted, and respected me during my time as a player. Not to mention everything that we’re experiencing together now. The people have been amazing over the last 10 years.”

On his future: “What do I think about my future? I think about Levante. There is no other thought from our people and from us. We only think about games.”

On Reinildo Mandava: “It’s too early to form broad opinions. We know about his defensive acumen and his work rate as a left-back. It’s clear that what he has brought is good energy and this is always welcomed, especially during times like these.”

On Marcos Llorente: “I think he found his place as an interior midfielder last season. This, combined with Trippier’s great season, who gave us so much in that position and enhanced Marcos’ physicality, caused Llorente to have a brilliant season.”

“We don’t have Trippier anymore, so things are not in the same terms of the partnership that he formed with Llorente, but we will continue looking for what is best. I will give the formation for the game when I talk to the players tomorrow.”

On Atletico’s injury problems: “I understand that in football, absolutely anything can happen. We need to be ready to find solutions. We’re trying to find them, put in the work, and reflect this hard work on the pitch, which is the only thing that counts.”

On Atletico’s style: “We have been playing a certain way for many years. Every year is different, but after that Champions League game against Liverpool, everyone thought that we would not make top 4.”

“I think we were four or five points behind with 11 matchdays left. But the team followed the plan, which was to play with the 4-4-2, and the team responded well to the plan. We won eight games and drew three if I’m not mistaken, but you could concretely see what the team wanted to do on the pitch.”

On the shift in formation: “Last season we started out with the 4-4-2 and saw that we needed to change, so we switched to the 5-3-2. With the continuity of this formation and our consistent following of the same path, the team had a plan and stuck to it properly.”

“This season, as the one who is responsible and absolutely self-critical, I was constantly changing in search of better things. Hopefully, now, I can choose the plan well and the team properly followed what I choose.”

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Atletico Madrid News

Ancelotti talks Courtois, Militao, Bellingham, VAR controversies ahead of Las Palmas vs Real Madrid

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Coming off a highly controversial game against Almeria, Real Madrid will now travel to Gran Canaria to take on Las Palmas tomorrow as part of the early kick-off.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke about the clash tomorrow, starting off by confirming his goalkeeper for tomorrow, “Lunin will start tomorrow.”

He also added that Madrid were looking to get back to their usual level after back-to-back poor performances, one of which included elimination against Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey round of 16.

“We are motivated to return to our best level after 2 bad games.”

The Italian gaffer also commented on the biggest football story in the world today, which was Jurgen Klopp announcing his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.

“It’s quite surprising, I understand. Working for a long time with the same club and players lowers your motivation a bit. He’s doing a fantastic job at Liverpool.”

And of course, Ancelotti also spoke about the leaked VAR audiovisual, some of which are highly controversial for all parties involved. Barcelona coach and players have also commented on the same, in light of the Negreira case.

“They have talked a lot. Everyone knows what has happened in the last 20 years in Spanish football. The Civil Guard is carrying out an investigations. That is the real problem of Spanish football.”

Luckily for the manager and fans, all injured players — minus the ACL trio of David Alaba, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois — are available. Jude Bellingham is suspended, however.

“Everyone is available now after the recent period of injuries.”

“Making up for Bellingham’s absence tomorrow? Brahim and Joselu are available options. They were able to show themselves after I relied on them as substitutes,” he added.

And as far as Militao and Courtois are concerned, both of whom tore their ACL early in the season, Ancelotti suggested that they could make their return before the season ends.

“Courtois and Militão both have the option to play this season. The recovery process is going very well, they are training on an individual level. It is February and these types of injuries last 6-8 months, so I think they will recover before the end of the season.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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