Simeone: “I hope to see a packed Calderón Sunday”

'El Cholo' calls for a great atmosphere against Valencia

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Atlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone gave a press conference at the club’s training facilities in Majadahonda Wednesday morning, looking ahead to Sunday’s home match against Valencia and reflecting on his phenomenal run during his first month and a half in charge.

“I hope to see a packed Calderón and that with our fans, it’ll be 12 against Valencia,” he said.

“I hope the people live this moment the way it must be lived, with passion, the way the supporters of Atlético Madrid have gotten us accustomed to; with excitement because excitement is part of the hope.

“We are the first to get hopeful but we are taking it day-by-day. Valencia are a strong opponent that we are familiar with and that have always been hard for us. They will be tough and have good players.

“I want a packed stadium on Sunday.”

Below is an excerpt of Simeone’s press conferece as found at Atlético’s official site.

On the so called “Cholo effect”
I don’t dwell on those journalistic scenarios. We work towards continuous improvement game-to-game, because it’s a very long competition.

We always live in the present and the present is the upcoming match. The boys are working very well and we have been evolving in a positive manner this month and a half that we’ve been with the team.

Do we have an advantage over Valencia because of their midweek Copa action?
Valencia have a very large and very good squad. They’re a team that offer many variations to the way they play and are very complete. They play in the Copa [del Rey] at home but I’m not going to focus on that cup game but, rather, on their squad, which is very good and we’ll see what players they’ll have available to take us on. They will be a tough and difficult opponent on Sunday regardless of what happens in the Copa.

On why no signings were made over the winter transfer window
It’s a result of the reality we live in. The team is fine and, consequently, we mutually agreed not to make an effort at any position and strengthen what he have here today.

On the return of Fran Mérida after his six-month loan spell at Braga
We spoke to Caminero about the possibility of bringing him in and we gave him the ‘OK’. I spoke to him in the morning and we have told him what we want of the team and of the players that are with us. Now, we will monitor his growth and we’ll look out for his moment. Hopefully, we can use the best he has to offer.

Did he expect such a strong start in which Atleti have taken 10 of 12 points?
When one begins to work, one hopes for the best but is aware that there are many things that can happen. We are working well and hopefully we will continue to grow as a team. There is something that is much more important than the 10 points and that is the commitment the team has made to work hard.

Will he rotate the starting line-up?
The best thing that has happened to us since we arrived is that in Málaga we came out with a [starting XI]. Against Villarreal we had to change it up because of suspensions with two players who responded very well. Against Real Sociedad, we also had to make a change and in Pamplona, the same thing happened, with a great response. This, in itself, speaks well for the group. The coach will decide ahead of the matches that come.

How did he feel about Mendilibar’s comment that Atleti played like “a small club”?
When I heard Osasuna’s coach, I don’t know if he was criticising us but for me it was praise because he said that we think like a small club. I think it’s the opposite, because what we have is the heart of the small teams.

On Atlético’s Portuguese players
Sílvio is recovering and works very hard and each time he’s doing better. We need him so that he can pitch in and contribute to the team whenever he gets a chance to play. For that though, he has to be at 100 per cent which is what we need of all our boys who are going to participate.

We haven’t been able to use Pizzi but when I watch him train I ask myself why I don’t put him in. He’s in a state of growth.

Tiago is an extremely important player and we expect a lot from him, not only in the matches but also before the group and the team.

[Tiago’s captainship in Osasuna] was my decision.

His thoughts on referees
Referees try to do their best job and they make mistakes in the same way that us coaches make mistakes in matches when we make a late substitution or a bad tactical change or when we make a mistake in selecting a player for a game.

On the squad’s four straight shutouts
Beyond the statistical aspect, there’s a way to interpret how to defend and defending doesn’t have to do with only how good Courtois is playing right now, it has to do with how well everyone is playing.

When the team scores a lot of goals it’s because of the importance of everyone on the squad. Beyond the statistic of zero [goals conceded], the work of Arda, Adrián, Koke, Falcao, of everyone the team has on offense [is equally important], it’s great for the whole squad and is not a statistic that is only good for the goalkeeper.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Grande Cholo!, he still is as humble as as when he was an Atleti player, that’s why I like this guy, he is a humble person yet he is a brilliant coach, great motivator, great tactician and strategist and he always has his feet firm on the ground, knows what he is doing and what he wants, and most importantly, he has made a squad like Atleti that doesn’t exactly has the biggest name in football, excluding Falcao, Turan, Adrian, Courtois, and yet, he has made Atletico play like an elite club so far, hope Simeone’s hard work keeps paying off for a long time.

  • palc

    I bet Cholo is great in bed. Like he is with everything. <3

  • shlomgar

    Palc I wish you all the best…

    This “feet on the ground” approach is just what this club needed. I’m walking around with a slight high for the lasr couple of weeks. Still I really don’t think we should be considering ourselves as a small team because of our supporters and our ambitions, they’re not small!

  • Erwinito

    Hi guys, look at this player,
    Chelsea just bought him from the same club that Thibaut Coirtois used to play with (KRC Genk).
    Verry probably he will be loaned out next season, so i hope Thibaut puts in a good word for him by the club and joins us 😉

  • ali_

    that would be terrific… i dont want this club to be chelsea’s training club.

  • GS Fan 1905

    Hey Guys,

    As a Galatasaray fan I can tell you guys that Atletico Madrid is not a small caliber team! It is a team that is to be respected and looked upon with said respect.

    As an outsider I view Atletico Madrid as one of the best teams that Spain has to offer. The history is there to prove it. Please don’t let anybody else tell you guys otherwise.

    There’s a bit of a rebuilding process at the moment, every team big or small goes through rebuilding phases.

    For instance, I do not view Chelsea as a big team. Chelsea is just a play thing for a big kid with a big bank account. Of course they are just one example as there are many more teams out there similar to Chelsea.

    Keeo your heads up high, things are looking great for the future! 🙂

    Aupa Atleti!

  • Hey guys, i just realized something, we have a positive chance to play in the uefa champions league. If we beat Valencia, we will be 4 points behind them in the table and we need to continue to win our matches so we could play in the UCL next year. I just realized it!! Pretty cool, huh?

  • k14

    Randy, to make u even feel better, I will let you know 2 of our direct rivals are playing each other (Espanyol vs Ath Bilbao).
    And we play the team who we wantse, to flop the most, so ye, this will be one hell of a decisive week.

  • Yes k14 if espanyol and athletic bilbao draw and we win it will be a very close table

  • Davide

    I heard that we signed a sponsorship deal with Wolkswagen a few hours ago.

  • Edletico

    I hope so Davide, would provide much needed revenue

  • Davide

    Randy German//

    To be honest about Torres and his goalscoring at Atlético, i would give a lot of credit to Ibagaza for that. He was my favorite playmaker of all time.

  • Hey Davide did we really sign a sponsorship deal with volkswagen??

  • ali_

    Randy German: yes, check out the official page!

  • Davide

    Randy German//

    Yeah, i found out like 30 minutes after Atlético signed the papers. I was not 100% sure about if it was true or not. But i see that the club put it up today on the website. So i am happy we got the deal. It’s a good partner. They own Vfl Wolfsburg and are very active in German football. Also it might now make it much easier to sign Diego on a permanent deal as Wolkswagen owns him.

  • ok thanks davide and ali. i didnt know, sorry. Now that i do know it is very cool we signed the sponsorship cuz it will make it easier to sign diego permanently as you mentioned before