Simeone: Atletico Madrid success is ‘luck’
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone refused to compare his side’s Champions League performance to that of other La Liga clubs ahead today’s clash against Real Sociedad.
With Tuesday’s Champions League Group D 2-1 win at home to Rostov, Atletico maintained their 100 percent record and sealed their progress to the knockout stages of the competition two games early.
Although they conceded their first goal in the group stage, their powerful La Liga rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid struggled, with the Blaugrana club losing to Manchester City and Real Madrid playing to a 3-3 draw against Legia Warsaw.
“We have won all our [Champions League] matches? Surely, it must be luck,” Simeone said in his habitual deadpan during yesterday’s news conference.
Real Sociedad have 16 points and sit sixth in La Liga’s table in preparation to face Los Che, who are third, three points behind league leader Real Madrid.
Yesterday, the club won their appeal over Stefan Savic’s second yellow card during their 4-2 win last weekend against Malaga and the defender is cleared to play today.
“He has become an important player for our team and we have four central defenders who play very well,” Simeone said.
The Argentine coach has also added 21-year-old centre-back Jose Maria Gimenez to his starting XI. Gimenez returned to play vs. Rostov after recovering from a groin problem that saw him miss most of September.
“The return of Gimenez is great news for us. With [Diego] Godin, Lucas [Hernandez] and Savic, we have a great group.”
Simeone refused to discuss La Liga matches beyond today’s clash at Anoeta and said that it is part of his nature to try to continue to improve.
“Real Sociedad have been improving a lot, they have been playing well and they will challenge us,” he said. “We are focused only on this match and on getting the best possible result.
“We are always focused on our team and we try to play our own game.”
Asked whether he was concerned that only one Atletico player had been included in Spain’s squad yesterday, Simeone said: “I can’t have an opinion about the decisions another coach makes. That is a question for him and not for me.”
Simeone also included Koke among his midfielders.