Simeone praises Atleti players during season of change

By Sports Desk July 16, 2020

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone claimed his side's determination to churn out results to secure a LaLiga top-four finish during a season of upheaval augurs well for the future.

Simeone's side are on course to finish third in LaLiga after goals from Marcos Llorente and Thomas Partey secured a 2-0 victory over Getafe in their penultimate league game of the season on Thursday.

It left Atleti two points clear of fourth-placed Sevilla – who drew 0-0 with Real Sociedad – and with a superior goal difference.

Simeone's side conclude their LaLiga campaign with a home match against Sociedad before their attention switches to the Champions League.

Atleti have a quarter-final match with RB Leipzig which will be played as a single-leg tie in Lisbon in August as part of a mini tournament to finish the competition.

It has been an impressive turnaround for Atleti and Simeone, who was under pressure earlier in the season but has now seen his side go 15 games unbeaten in LaLiga.

"There were many changes this year," Simeone said in a post-match media conference after the win over Getafe.

"Senior players left and new players came. In defence, for example. Periods of difficulty pass, but the team after the victory in Liverpool and the work since starting again has improved us.

"Being in the top four is important and a necessity for the club to continue growing.

"Is this a good signal for the Champions League? After the quarantine, except for the game against Real Betis and the first minutes against Getafe, the team has had work and a willingness to reach these good results."

Simeone started Diego Costa ahead of Alvaro Morata in attack against Getafe, with Llorente continuing in a playmaker role in behind.

And the Argentinian acknowledged the impressive displays of Llorente have made it difficult for his two leading strikers.

"Marcos has physical strength and danger with an assist, and with a goal. He is a boy to whom nobody gave anything and earns it day by day," added the Atleti coach.

"Costa has been through bad times and it is complex for the coach because Morata scores goals and whoever of the two is left out will be angry. 

"I have to guess the one that suits us in every game and maybe they are getting closer to being able to play together."

Related items

  • Jovic? We'll see – Zidane asked about Madrid forward amid Man Utd links Jovic? We'll see – Zidane asked about Madrid forward amid Man Utd links

    Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane addressed speculation over Luka Jovic's future amid links to Manchester United and clubs in Serie A.

    Jovic has struggled for game time since his €60million arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt in June last year, with form, fitness and Zidane's preference to play Karim Benzema up front hindering the Serbia international.

    United have emerged as a loan option for Jovic, while Roma, Milan and Inter have also been linked with temporary moves for the 22-year-old.

    Asked about Jovic – who was handed a rare start alongside Benzema in the 3-2 win over Real Betis last week – on the eve of Madrid's LaLiga clash against Real Valladolid, Zidane told reporters: "You have to take everything into account.

    "Until the fifth [of October], the market is open. We will see.

    "The players are fine and that's what interests me."

    Jovic endured a turbulent first season with Madrid in 2019-20 following his big-money arrival from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht, managing just two goals in 25 appearances.

    The former Red Star Belgrade and Benfica forward was prised from Germany after scoring 27 goals in 2018-19 as Eintracht reached the Europa League semi-final.

    Madrid have four points from two games to sit seventh in LaLiga, three points behind leaders Getafe – who have played three matches.

  • Messi ready to move on with Barcelona - We all have to be united Messi ready to move on with Barcelona - We all have to be united

    Lionel Messi wants to bring an end to any disagreements with Barcelona, calling for everyone at the club to show a united front in their bid for success this season. 

    The Argentine superstar stunned the footballing world when he announced he sensationally wanted to leave Camp Nou in August, believing he could still activate a clause to terminate his contract and walk away for nothing. 

    However, with both Barca and LaLiga insisting that option had expired in June, leaving any potential buyer to either negotiate with the LaLiga side or pay his €700million release clause, Messi opted not to pursue the matter any further. 

    Confirming an exit was "impossible" after his father and agent Jorge met with president Josep Maria Bartomeu, the 33-year-old told Goal Spain he would be staying put to see out the remaining year of his contract. 

    Messi converted from the spot as the Ronald Koeman era began with a 4-0 thrashing of Villarreal at Camp Nou and, speaking to SPORT, has now made clear his desire to draw a line under what has been a tumultuous period for both himself and the club. 

    "After so many disagreements, I would like to bring an end to everything. We all have to be united and assume that the best is yet to come," the six-time Ballon d'Or winner said. 

    In excerpts of an exclusive interview that will be released in full on Wednesday, Messi insisted he had only acted with Barcelona's best interests at heart. 

    "I take responsibility for my errors and if they existed, it was only to make Barcelona better and stronger," he admitted. 

    Sending a message to the fans, Messi added: "If at any moment, any of them were annoyed by something that I said or did, let there be no doubts that anything I did was always with the club's best interests in mind."

    Messi was strongly linked with a move to Manchester City, which would have seen him team up again with former Barca boss Pep Guardiola in the Premier League.

  • Jamaica, Costa Rica drawn in Gold Cup group C Jamaica, Costa Rica drawn in Gold Cup group C

    Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz have been drawn in Group C of the CONCACAF Gold Cup where they will face Costa Rica, Suriname, and the winner of preliminary round 8.

    The Group Stage of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup will kick off on July 10, 2021. The 12 Concacaf national teams, which qualified directly through their performances in the Concacaf Nations League group stage, the guest participant, AFC Asian Cup Champions Qatar, and the three Prelims winners have been divided into four groups.

    Group A will feature Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao, and the winner of preliminary 9.  Group B will consist of the USA, Canada, Martinique, and the winner of preliminary 7.  In Group D Honduras, Panama, Grenada, and Qatar will compete to advance.

    The competition will begin on July 2, 2021, with the Preliminary Round, which will include12 Concacaf Member Associations competing for the final three spots in the 16-team Group Stage. For the two-round Prelims, the participating national teams have been divided into six matchups.  The games are listed below. 

    Round One

    Matchup #1: Haiti vs St. Vincent and the Grenadines

    Matchup #2: Guatemala vs Guyana

    Matchup #3: Trinidad and Tobago vs Monserrat

    Matchup #4: Cuba vs French Guiana

    Matchup #5: Guadeloupe vs the Bahamas

    Matchup #6: Bermuda vs Barbados

    Round Two

    Matchup #7: Winner Matchup #1 vs Winner Matchup #6

    Matchup #8: Winner Matchup #2 vs Winner Matchup #5

    Matchup #9: Winner Matchup #3 vs Winner Matchup #4

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.