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Diego Simeone talks Oblak, Vinicius, Griezmann ahead of Atletico vs Real Madrid

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Photo by Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

Speaking to the media ahead of the derby against Real Madrid on Sunday, Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has confirmed the availability of key star Jan Oblak for the encounter.

The Slovenian goalkeeper has been dealing with an injury that he picked up against Real Sociedad. Playing in the Champions League game against FC Porto saw Oblak aggravate the injury, following which he did not play the next couple of matches versus Celta Vigo and Bayer Leverkusen.

So, there had been a lot of doubts over his involvement at the Civitas Metropolitano on Sunday. But Simeone has confirmed that the first-choice goalkeeper will be available for the game.

Speaking in his pre-match presser (h/t MARCA), the Atletico Madrid manager said: “Oblak will be there tomorrow.”

Talking about other potential absentees, Simeone confirmed that Stefan Savic and Jose Maria Gimenez will miss out, but hoped they would be back soon.

“Last season cost us a lot. Savic and Giménez were away for a long time, we hope this season doesn’t happen, they all work to be with us as long as possible, they are very important and give us more tools for the game,” he said.

Talking about the controversies leading up to the derby, he added: “I focus on what concerns me and on the place I have, which is that of the coach. I look for ways to play a great game in a match that is special for them, for us and for the fans.”

On Real Madrid’s prowess, Simeone said: “They have an extraordinary team with young players who are going through transition. They have a habit of always being close to winning, they have a great team. We have to play the game that we are interested in playing.”

On reaching 408 matches as a manager in La Liga, he said: “I think that time is related to the results and a great job by the club, which has always given me great footballers. And only to have committed players.

“We have had them in this time, I am lucky for that, for keeping the most complex that there is in football, players dedicated to a cause. I am lucky as a coach, I could not have been so many years otherwise.”

Atletico Madrid lost their last game 2-0 to Bayer Leverkusen. On going into the derby on the back of a defeat, the manager said: “I would have liked to arrive after a victory but looking at it from the positive side, the defeat creates tension.

“We are going to face a great team that has great footballers. For many years they have competed in these games like Modric. And then there is a generation young with very good footballers for that transition. That’s why they compete as they compete.”

Simeone also gave his take on Vinicius Jr’s dance celebrations, saying: “We live in a society in which we are all involved. We are people and this is the society we have.”

On the team morale after the defeat to Leverkusen: “I always think that in important games like the derby it is important to arrive because of confidence and security, but when the game starts it is a new story.

“For those of us who played or were coaches, we understand that everything was fine until the referee’s whistle but then everything changes.”

On Griezmann’s reduced game-time situation, he said: “We understand that Morata and Joao are doing very well and Griezmann does very well in the last 30 minutes because he gives us hierarchy and partnership in attack. At the moment we are deciding it this way.”

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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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