Atlético are on the road this Saturday to face Real Valladolid on the fifth match day of the season. Kick-off at the José Zorrilla is scheduled for 22:00 CET.
The Rojiblancos have so far enjoyed a perfect start to La Liga, with four victories in four games, and they hit the ground running in the Champions League with a victory over Zenit on Wednesday.
They’ll look to continue their strong form this Saturday against La Pucela, whom they beat both home and away in their past Liga campaign.
During his press conference on Friday, Colchonero boss Diego Simeone commented on his team’s development during his tenure.
“I think the growth of the team in the past one-and-a-half years is important and it’s based on confidence, awareness, stability, and the renewals. This is a more complete team,” Cholo said.
“If you look at our first game in Málaga and the current ones, we’ve grown in our combination play, in our approach to certain games, but we always remain very similar, with clear ideas, respecting the club’s history.”
But he warned that his words would be meaningless if Atleti don’t perform against Real Valladolid, arguing that “any team can win” in La Liga, thanks to the “characteristics of their players”.
Speaking after his side’s training session on Friday, Real Valladolid coach Juan Ignacio Martínez praised La Liga leaders Atleti for the “conviction and intensity” with which they play their games.
JIM also had some kind words for a certain Colchonero player with whom he worked during his time at Albacete, then in the Segunda División.
“I was fortunate to be with Diego Costa at Albacete. You want him on your team, never on the opposition. He’s a potent player, who’s in very good form and rested.”
The Rojiblanco top scorer, who couldn’t participate in his team’s Champions League opener due to suspension, will be take part in the game on Saturday.
Vice-captain Tiago missed out on Atlético’s midweek game as well, with muscular problems, but the Portuguese shook them off in time to participate in training on Friday.
This leaves Adrián as the only absentee, after he broke his cheekbone against Zenit. The Spaniard successfully underwent surgery the day after and is expected to be out of action for three weeks.
For Real Valladolid, midfielders Álvaro Rubio and Víctor Pérez, and forward Larsson all won’t appear on Saturday due to injury, while a decision on defender Marc Valiente’s inclusion will be made at the last minute.
Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Bono
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Alderweireld, Manquillo, Juanfran, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario, Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Arda, Cebolla, Gabi, Óliver
Forwards: Villa, Diego Costa, Baptistão
Referee: Álvarez Izquierdo