Before yet another international break starts, Atlético receive struggling Celta on the eighth match day of La Liga. Kick-off at the Vicente Calderón is set for 12:00 CET on Sunday.
Though his men have won every game in La Liga and are two points ahead of third-placed Real Madrid with a game in hand, Rojiblanco boss Cholo Simeone cautioned that they’ve “played only seven games” and that “the only way to remain good is to be vigilant.”
Celta have only managed to win once this season, way back in August. Last season, the red-and-whites defeated Os Célticos both home and away, but it took an Adrián wonder goal to secure victory in a tedious game at the Vicente Calderón.
Speaking on Saturday, Cholo praised his upcoming opponents and their manager, Luis Enrique, describing them as a team “with a very good playing style” and a manager with a “clear playing philosophy”, respectively. He analyzed their current side, as well:
“They’re a team with a good game, good combinations, with Nolito on the left, who plays deep; Charles up front, who can do damage; Krohn-Deli, who’s always dangerous; Augusto, who always has a presence; and a good goalkeeper.”
Though the Colchoneros play their seventh game in twenty-two days on Sunday, Cholo indicated there wouldn’t be many changes, if any, to the team. He also explained why he always insists on approaching everything game-by-game.
“I always look, according to the properties of the game, for the players with whom I believe we can win the game, regardless of whether we have to rest a player for physical reasons. I imagine they’ll be fine for this game,” he said.
“The hardest thing in football is to maintain ambition, humility, and collective effort. If you manage to find this, you get the most from your team. Our goal is to get to that place. We only look at opponents for the points we can win against them. And tomorrow there are three points, just like at the Bernabéu.”
Mario returns to the squad again after recovering from a knee sprain, which forced him to miss out on games against Porto and Real Madrid. Adrián is still out with injury, and Raúl García joins him after spraining his ankle midweek. Giménez and Guilavogui have been omitted from the squad as well, for technical reasons.
Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Aranzubia, Courtois
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Alderweireld, Manquillo, Juanfran, Insúa, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario, Tiago, Koke, Arda, Cristian Rodríguez, Gabi, Óliver
Forwards: Villa, Diego Costa, Baptistão
Celta match selection
Goalkeepers: Sergio, Yoel
Defenders: Hugo Mallo, Fontàs, Aurtenetxe, Jonny, Toni, Cabral, David Costas
Midfielders: Borja Oubiña, Álex López, Rafinha, Madinda, Krohn-Deli, Augusto
Forwards: Nolito, Charles, Santi Mina
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco