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Simeone talks Joao Felix, Ernesto Valverde, lack of goals ahead of Athletic Club vs Atletico

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Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Atletico Madrid will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they lock horns with Athletic Club at San Mames on Saturday night in La Liga.

Los Rojiblancos were held to a goalless draw by Belgian side Club Brugge in the UEFA Champions League earlier this week. And Diego Simeone and his charges are under pressure to correct course at the earliest possible, given that they are already six points behind leaders Barcelona in La Liga.

On the eve of the game, Simeone spoke to the media and naturally, the subject of Joao Felix dominated the press conference after his antics in midweek and speculations surrounding his future.

On Joao Felix’s lack of game-time: “I am going to be very clear, just as I have spoken with him. I want to win, with Morata, with Correa…the only reality is what it is. In the season that we won La Liga, he had an incredible start and then he got injured. 

“In the second season, he started playing in Osasuna and ended up playing until he got injured. At the beginning of this new season he had a very good preseason, he started very well. 

“When his performance has dropped now, another teammate plays, because João is the same as everyone and I treat everyone the same way. When he’s back to being good, when he’s back running when the team needs him, he’s going to play. 

“This is about performance, and in performance, I understand that there are other players who are doing better.”

On Felix’s gestures in training on Thursday: “It’s normal that yesterday’s gesture that came out on social media was because he was playing with De Paul.”

“Now he has the focus on him and anything he can generate. You, who are with the magnifying glass, give your opinion as you believe. I say everything I have to say to the players in the locker room, not here.”

On the unity in the dressing room: “The team is very good and there is only one reality, which is the playing field, and on the playing field there is a coach who chooses based on needs and chooses what he thinks is best for each match. I’m not going to remove João to lose.”

On Joao’s attitude and talks with him: “I love it because they find the spotlight. He is a fantastic boy, he gets along with his teammates… we are talking about game performance, nothing more.”

On the Portuguese’s performances: “I’m having a hard time getting the best out of João. I have to get the most out of those who are.”

On the lack of goals: “I think the good thing is to have scoring situations. The more you have means that the team is after winning the game. The only way I know to reach the goal is to keep insisting.”

On Athletic Club and Ernesto Valverde: “I love how they are playing. Valverde has found that line of play, approaching how he made Barcelona play. I like how they play, how they press, how they work as a block, so we expect a difficult opponent.”

On the lack of a well-defined starting XI: “When another coach changes it seems that he rotates, but in my case, it seems I am criticised. I do it always looking for the best for the team.”

Source: Atletico Madrid YouTube

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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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