Diego Simeone insists he is having no problem getting his message across to new signing Moussa Dembele thanks to the French language speakers already at Atletico Madrid.

Dembele joined Atletico on loan from Lyon last week until the end of the season, at which point LaLiga's leaders will have the option to buy him permanently for €33.5m.

The former Celtic striker has scored just once in 16 Ligue 1 appearances this season but comes in to bolster Atlei's forward line following the departure of Diego Costa.

Simeone has been impressed by Dembele's initial efforts in training, something he conceded has been made easier by the presence of Thomas Lemar, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Yannick Carrasco.

"Dembele just arrived a few days ago and he is trying to settle into the group," Simeone said ahead of Thursday's trip to Eibar, one of Atletico's games in hand on Real Madrid that could see them extend their advantage at the summit to seven points.

"Thankfully he has team-mates like Kondogbia, Carrasco and Lemar who are close to him and doing translations in order to make the communication quicker.

"We will have time to let him know what we want from him exactly, in the meantime we let him to settle in the best way with his  team-mates.

"I see him excited and happy. He is a number nine and we expect from him all the good we saw in him to bring him to Atletico Madrid."

Dembele's presence could further hinder Joao Felix's chances of getting back into Simeone's starting XI.

The record signing was a substitute in each of Atleti's past two LaLiga encounters and has not found the net since the 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on December 1.

Nevertheless, Simeone remains satisfied with the Portugal international's contributions.

"I ask Joao the same as always - to be involved in the group, as he is. Being competitive, as he has been in the last games," he added.

"He didn’t start the game, but he was important for the team from other positions. When he got in, he showed all his talent and quality. The team needs his skills."

Diego Simeone said LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid are poised to confirm the signing of Lyon forward Moussa Dembele.

Atletico and Lyon have been in "very advanced" negotiations regarding a deal that will see Dembele move to the Wanda Metropolitano on loan with an option to buy.

Atleti will reportedly be able to secure Dembele for a €35million fee should the former France Under-21 international impress on loan before the end of the season.

Dembele has scored just once in 16 Ligue 1 games for Lyon this season, having hit 24 in 46 across all competitions in 2019-20.

Simeone was asked about Dembele following Tuesday's 2-0 LaLiga victory over Sevilla in the Spanish capital.

"It is very advanced," Atletico head coach Simeone said post-match. "We are going to confirm it."

Atletico extended their lead atop LaLiga to four points thanks to goals from Angel Correa and Saul Niguez against visiting Sevilla.

Correa broke the deadlock in the 17th minute before Atletico team-mate Saul put the result beyond doubt with 14 minutes remaining.

Of Correa's goals for Atletico, 19 out of 39 across all competitions have been the opening goal of a match, per Opta.

Atletico, meanwhile, are one of the two teams with the most clean sheets in the top five European leagues this season (11 in 16 fixtures) – level with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

On Saul, who has only started seven of 13 LaLiga games this term, Simeone said: "Like everything in life, the first one who has to want to get out of the difficulty is oneself and Saul loves it.

"He knew he was not well and has always worked. Since he was 18 years old, he has had to live things very good and now he has to live another and Saul is helping himself and is already getting out of the situation he was in."

Simeone was named the best coach of the decade by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) this week.

"I am not aware of that," said Simeone, who guided Atletico to LaLiga glory in 2014 and Champions League finals in 2014 and 2016.

"We focus on improving the team, we work daily, we have made an important change in the game. That is healthy and gives us great joy for the number of players who have joined us and that allows us to be.

"With the energy of the first day I got on the plane with the mentality of taking the team to the top of Europe."

Atletico Madrid are close to signing Moussa Dembele from Lyon, Diego Simeone has confirmed.

The striker is expected to move to the Wanda Metropolitano on a loan deal with an option to buy, having told Lyon he wanted a new challenge.

The agreement has not yet been finalised but Simeone seems confident the move will be completed sooner rather than later.

"It's still not confirmed, but it's very advanced," the Atletico coach told reporters ahead of Tuesday's match with Sevilla.

"I'm going to turn my head towards the game, which is what interests me, and when there's something [on Dembele], if there is something, I'll give an opinion."

Atleti will reportedly be able to secure Dembele for a €35million fee should he impress on loan before the end of the season.

The former France Under-21 international has scored just once in 16 Ligue 1 games this season, having hit 24 in 46 across all competitions in 2019-20.

Simeone's more pressing concern is Tuesday's match with Julen Lopetegui's side, which comes after Atleti's previous game with Athletic Bilbao was called off.

The match, which was due to take place in Madrid on Saturday, was postponed after Storm Filomena brought significant snowfall to the Spanish capital.

Training was severely disrupted over the weekend and Atleti will hold an extra session before facing Sevilla to make sure they are fully prepared.

"With the difficulties we've had, everyone has been at home," Simeone said. "We had no option of getting together or leaving the house. We worked at home on Saturday; on Sunday, a group was able to train together.

"There are no excuses. They're circumstances to which we have to adapt. The most important thing will be tomorrow and what happened before will not matter in terms of the criticism and opinions we receive.

"There'll be two training sessions because tomorrow we'll have another one at midday to finish fine-tuning what we have to do, making the most of the fact the game is in the evening.

"[The pitch] is very good. It looks really good, with a normal condition to be able to compete and I'm sure there won't be any difficulty with the surface."

Simeone also confirmed Kieran Trippier "is really good, he's really excited to play, focused as ever" after being cleared to play.

The full-back was hit with a 10-game ban by the Football Association due to breaches of betting regulations, but he is allowed to feature again in LaLiga after FIFA put his punishment on hold amid an appeal from Atletico.

Diego Simeone hinted at the idea he could leave Atletico Madrid at the end of the season after their awful Copa del Rey defeat to third-tier Cornella.

Simeone's LaLiga leaders exited the Copa on Wednesday, losing 1-0 to a goal from former Atletico B defender Adrian Jimenez.

Ricard Sanchez was sent off as Atleti slumped to a shock reverse swiftly described by the Spanish media as a "disaster" among the very worst of Simeone's 502 games in charge of the club.

The long-time coach named a strong side, including record signing Joao Felix, but saw his team remarkably unable to register a single shot on target.

Copa failings are a familiar story by now, though, with the Rojiblancos losing to Cultural Leonesa last season. Meanwhile, they have not beaten a fellow LaLiga outfit in the competition since seeing off Elche in January 2017.

Simeone recognised Atleti are struggling in one-off knockout matches - also losing in last season's Champions League to RB Leipzig - but added the surprising qualifier that it would be an issue to consider only if he was still at the helm next year.

"[Cornella] played better," he said. "In the whole game, what they wanted was always done better than what we wanted.

"They took advantage of the set-piece situations and immediately found the goal.

"The boys tried to compete in the best way. In the first half, we had more chances, and in the second, it was rockier. It got difficult after the red card.

"This competition has not given us satisfaction in recent years but solutions will have to be found if we are here next year."

Saul Niguez, captain on the night, identified the same problem as he added: "We apologise to the fans. We never throw away competitions, but in these single-game editions we are not doing well."

Given Atleti's struggles, the decision to replace Joao Felix with 18-year-old debutant Mario Soriano 15 minutes from time prompted some discussion.

But the Portugal international mustered only one shot, which was blocked, prior to his withdrawal and failed to create a single chance - unlike his replacement.

Joao Felix epitomised the visitors' display as he completed just 13 of his 21 attempted passes and lost possession 13 times, winning none of his three aerial duels.

The change still appeared a big call, yet Simeone explained his star forward was struggling with an ankle injury.

"He was hurt," Simeone said. "We looked for a fresher guy. He had a bruised ankle and we wanted to find a guy in good condition."

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone welcomed Kieran Trippier back to training after his 10-week suspension for betting offences was put on hold by FIFA.

The 30-year-old defender was issued with the ban and a fine of £70,000 on December 23 after the Football Association (FA) found him guilty of four of seven alleged breaches of rule E8(1)(b).

Atletico appealed against the punishment to FIFA, and world football's governing body has cleared Trippier to play while its appeal committee considers the matter.

In the written reasons explaining its independent regulatory commission's decision, which the FA published on Tuesday, it was revealed Trippier told a friend, "Lump on if you want mate" in one of a series messages on a WhatsApp group discussing the progress of his €22million transfer to Atleti in July 2019.

Trippier's claim that the messages were "banter" did not pass muster with the commission and it was discovered one of his friends, Oliver Hawley, placed 10 separate bets between £20 and £65 on the right-back joining Atletico.

Matthew Brady, who asked Trippier, "Shall I lump on you going there?" and two other friends placed further bets ranging from £20 and £300.

"It [the ban] is on hold. We have Trippier back with us," Simeone said.

"I gave him a hug and they will tell me more in the coming days."

However, the former Tottenham player might have to wait for his return to action and will not feature in Wednesday's Copa del Rey tie at Cornella.

"He is training away from the group. Tomorrow, he will not take part in the game," Simeone confirmed.

As part of its investigation, the FA took into account witness statements on Trippier's behalf from England manager Gareth Southgate and Three Lions captain Harry Kane.

So far this season, he has played 19 matches in all competitions for Atletico.

 

 

Diego Simeone called upon his Atletico Madrid players to be "constantly prepared" going into the second half of the season and warned of the "traps" that lie in store as they aim to win their first LaLiga title since 2014.

Luis Suarez scored in the 90th minute to earn Simeone's men a 2-1 victory over Deportivo Alaves on Sunday, extending their domestic winning streak to four matches and moving them two points clear of nearest rivals Real Madrid, who have played two games more.

Asked to assess his side's performance after 15 games of the season, Simeone said he expects the challenge of staying at the top of the table to be one of increasing difficulty.

"We understand that the league is complex," Simeone told reporters. "It is difficult, it has traps, you have to be constantly prepared.

"You cannot leave room to relax, because all the teams want to win. We are going to start the second round shortly and it will not be with the same calm that one perhaps plays the first round.

"The second round will be tougher, with the teams that want to save themselves and those that want to fight to enter the Europa League and the Champions League. It alerts us to the fact that the only way to play is match-by-match."

Suarez provided the assist for Atletico's opener, scored by Marcos Llorente, and the visitors were given a further boost when Victor Laguardia was sent-off after 63 minutes.

But Alaves levelled the match six minutes from time when Felipe put into his own net, only for Suarez to come up with a late winner.

Simeone expressed his satisfaction with the way his side ended the game, picking out second-half substitutes Saul Niguez and Joao Felix for praise.

"The most beautiful thing about tonight was how the game ended," said Simeone. "Not getting nervous, looking to play together.

"And the goal was a great goal, a very good play by Saul with [Thomas] Lemar and Joao, defining the nine where it should be.

"I understood that the game lasts 90 minutes and having important players also waiting for what might happen is a useful strategy.

"Obviously, Joao came on and played very well and that is what makes me happy, same as Saul - he entered very well and that makes me very happy too.

"I'm very happy for a victory that we worked very hard for."

Atletico Madrid returned to the summit of LaLiga as Luis Suarez's dramatic 90th-minute goal sealed a 2-1 win over Deportivo Alaves on Sunday. 

Diego Simeone's side dropped to second following Real Madrid's 2-0 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday, but a fourth consecutive top-flight victory restored a two-point advantage over their city rivals with still two games in hand. 

Marcos Llorente put the visitors ahead after 41 minutes with his latest long-range effort – his five from outside the penalty area since the beginning of 2020 more than any other LaLiga player. 

Alaves brushed off Victor Laguardia's 63rd-minute red card to pull level six minutes from time through Felipe's outrageous own goal, but Suarez popped up at the death to snatch a memorable win for Los Rojiblancos. 

 

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