Atlético go into this weekend’s game against Osasuna with the bitter taste of defeat at the hands of their neighbours very much still in their mouths.
The 2-0 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid was no surprise, but still hurt, and falling down to 8th place in the league was effectively rubbing salt in the wound after such a bright start to the season.
The team can’t dwell on such setbacks though, and must look ahead – beginning with the clash on Saturday evening at the Vicente Calderón.
“We want to finish the first half of the season with 30 points,” said a positive Quique Sánchez Flores. To achieve this target, the team will be needing 16 points from the next 9 games.
Positivity is the key, and the run of fixtures facing the team appears to be quite favourable. Over the next 8 games in the league, 6 of the teams currently reside in the bottom half. To go on a run before the winter break, pick up a series of wins, and get confidence flowing through the team again could see them sitting comfortably in a Champions League position come the New Year.
One thing that we could see during that spell is a return to form for Diego Forlán. The Uruguayan has been the subject of even more intense transfer speculation this week – teams outside of Spain have been mentioned, and one in the same city too.
Speaking to the media this week, Quique Sánchez Flores warned of the threat posed by the Pamplona-based side. “They’re a physical, tough team who are direct and can complicate things for your side. We will have to be aggressive.”
Diego Costa will be missing for the game, as he was sent off midweek. David De Gea and Sergio Agüero trained separately from the squad this week, as it was felt they needed extra work in the gym. Sergio Asenjo returned to light training this week after his lengthy spell on the sidelines, though it will be awhile before he’s in contention for the squad.
Osasuna, although extremely proficient at home – their last two games have been back to back 3-0 victories – are a different side away. They’ve yet to pick up a win this season on their travels, and scored just two goals. Coach José Antonio Camacho knows his team must start picking up points away from home if they are to climb away from wrong end of the table.
The only solitary point they’ve picked up away from home was against Deportivo La Coruña, who themselves were going through a pretty poor run. They were also knocked out of the cup midweek by the very same team, and now their focus is entirely on the league.
Javier Camuñas was close to making this game, but in the end will miss as his hamstring still heals. Walter Pandiani, meanwhile, is out for a month with a thigh injury. The only other absentee is Rupert.
Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Joel Robles
Defenders: Ujfaluši, Valera, Perea, Domínguez, Luis Filipe, López,
Midfielders: Reyes, Assunção, Mario Suárez, Camacho, Tiago, Raúl García, Simão, Fran Mérida
Strikers: Forlán and Agüero.
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