Atlético coach Diego Simeone is making a habit of addressing club matters on a weekly basis.
On Wednesday morning, ‘El Cholo’ gave another one of his in-depth midweek press conferences, hitting on a broad scope of Atleti topics du jour.
The Rojiblanco boss revisited the loss to Barcelona on Sunday and looked ahead to our upcoming clash at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, where we will square off against a Sevilla side he described as a team “on the up”.
Below is an excerpt of the press conference, the full transcript of which can be found on Atlético’s official website here.
Early assessment of our trip to Sevilla
We’ll be facing [Sevilla] without Godín and Falcao because they are suspended. The youngsters that played with the Olympic selection are arriving and beginning on Thursday, the other guys with their national teams [arrive]. On Thursday afternoon is when we all hope to be together to [prepare] for this important match. We will play against a great Sevilla team that are on the up, a team that play well, that have intense midfielders, a midfield that is intense and good at creating scoring chances, and players with height. On the wings they have Reyes and Navas, very important players that [pose a threat]. So it will be a nice, lovely match before a great fan base that will be experienced with a beautiful atmosphere. A great match.
On the effect international duty may have on his players
I always say that going to the national team is a source of pride for the player. It makes me, as a coach, happy when the players go to the senior [national] team, because it’s every player’s goal. I took part for 14 years, coming and going and traveling and I know what it means and how good that moment feels for one, as a player. Let’s hope they come back with the joy of having participated and we’ll see, when they return, what condition they are in and who we can use or not.
On Atleti’s options up front this weekend without Falcao
We are mulling over the options we have. We’ve played with Salvio, in the match against Lazio, which he did well in. We’ll see Arda’s [condition] upon his return. We’ll see how we can use Koke, if we move Juanfran up, we’ll see what position we put Adrián in, if more withdrawn on the wings or as the centre forward. We have these alternatives and we’ll try to find our best possibilities for a very nice match.
On his phone call with Adrian on Tuesday to enquire about a knock the striker sustained in the pre-match warm-ups of the friendly between Spain and Egypt’s U-23 Olympic selections
I spoke to him when he was in the stands watching [Spain’s pre-Olympic squad] match. I called to ask him how he felt and he’s arriving now. We’ll surely converse a little more in a bit. He’s sore, obviously, because he had played on Sunday night and not even 48 hours had transpired yet. It’s normal. I also think Isco, of Málaga, was sore.
On the refereeing controversy from this past Sunday
I don’t really follow those that complain or not. Everyone is free to express themselves however they want. In the long run, the campaign gives and takes things because they are all human mistakes and they happen in the games. Not so much the referee and his linesmen, for whatever reason or other they didn’t catch an offsides, but tomorrow they won’t see another one that goes in our favour. This is football, and I don’t consider it an excuse. They’re also running at 2000 RPM and have to make calls in situations that when we are watching on television [we can see] much more easily. Let’s hope the campaign gives you more than it takes from you, although right now they are taking more from us than what they are giving to us, [but we’ll catch our break].
Reflecting on the Barcelona match
The important thing is that we played a great game against the best team in the world, that they created very few scoring chances, that we chose to play a closed first half, that the second one was very important, and that the team was able to remain in line with the performances in all the other matches versus Barcelona. That makes me happy, I feel fine. The other details of the moment come and go, but what matters is one’s state.
Now we will take on a club that are growing, that are coming off of a huge triumph in Valencia and that defeated Osasuna. I’m familiar with Sevilla. They are a team whose motivation comes quickly, and today, they are enjoying one of those moments because they have the tools to fight for the same spots we are all fighting for.
On his mixed feelings with regard to the Barça loss
The other day, after the game, I felt I was in a conflicted situation because the people congratulate you, ‘well done!’, but we lost. The team gave off a good impression, they were present, playing their match and that has to give us the strength to grow from there. Then, people are very spontaneous, I’ve always said it, especially so when it comes to our fans. The people react to what they see and they saw a team that committed themselves with the tools we have. We could’ve played a good game, but it’s behind us now and it’s not helpful for our next match, because we take on a different opponent, with a lot of speed, especially through their attackers. We’ll see how they resolve Negredo’s absence and it will be a good game.
On having only taken three of the last 12 points up for grabs
Everything depends on how you look at it, because when we got here we were 10 points out of fourth place and today, we are three points out.
On the lack of goals by the team’s strikers the past couple of weeks and the battle for a Champions League berth
Sometimes goals are scored by the forward but other times they are not, and a win or loss doesn’t depend on that. It will be a great match against a team that are excited, the same way a lot of teams are excited, to continue fighting to situate ourselves in those [top] positions. The team that have more resistance, more courage, more valor, more perseverance, is going to survive. We’ll have to wait and see. The next match doesn’t decide everything, it will go fixture-to-fixture. The battle is a beautiful one, it’s very competitive. A lot of teams are in the hunt. When we arrived it looked like Málaga could come out in third place, then it was said they’d be in 11th, and today they are in fourth or fifth. This is ever-changing and it will be this way until the end. Obviously, the weakest [team] will not be in the spot where we all want to be in the end.
On perseverance and hard work in football
Doing things wrong results in a loss, and doing things right, maybe you don’t win today or tomorrow, but hard work and perseverance in football pays off. In these last few matches we haven’t taken the points we were looking for, but that’s football. I think the most important thing for a team is the way you look to play games and how you decide to play against any opponent, and we look to play the same way. That is an important step. At the end of the season, we’ll see where our hard work took us.