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Atletico Madrid News

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



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

Atletico Madrid midfielder on the derby against Real Madrid: “Very difficult to beat them”



Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images

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.

Marcos Llorente confident of Atletico Madrid’s chances ahead of the derby (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

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