The Los Rojiblancos are in a firm position in this season’s title race.
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone ahead of their crucial La Liga fixture against FC Barcelona expressed his admiration for the Catalan club. Both the sides will meet in a feisty affair on Saturday evening at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.
Going to the match Simeone’s side is placed in the third position in the table whereas Barcelona are sitting top of the of the La Liga table but the difference is only of a single point, which makes Saturday’s clash between the two sides more interesting.
“I consider Barcelona to be the best team in the world in recent years, despite not having that consistency in Europe,” he told reporters. “We know they are dangerous and whether they play [Philippe] Coutinho or Malcom, they will have speed and multiple dangerous players.”We have tried to avoid injuries and for this game, we will only have three absences. We know how important the game is.”
El cholo was also asked about goalkeeper Jan Oblak and his own future whether or not it will be associated with the club or not remains to be seen. Although the Argentine looked positive in both aspects when speaking to the reporters.
The club are working with Oblak to try to have him continue with us,” he added. “We need him and it is very important for the present and future of our club that he stays here. I have also spoken with Gil Marin myself [about a renewal], but we haven’t finalised anything yet.”
Simeone who was very worried about their ever-increasing injury list but the Argentine will be relieved as he hears that five of his players have been cleared for the crucial Barcelona clash. Stefan Savic, Lucas Hernandez, Thomas Lemar, Koke, and Diego Costa were all passed fit.
The Rojiblancos will surely miss their leader in defense Diego Godin along with his defensive pair Jose Gimenez and even experienced right-back Juanfran also misses out the much important clash against Barcelona.
Apart from injuries, the Rojiblancos have also suffered from lack of cutting edge in their attack. Antoine Griezmann who is their top scorer with three goals has not hit top form yet and Diego Costa’s struggling form and goal drought since February is not helping Simeone’s causes. If they want something from the tie, Simeone will need his crucial players like Griezmann, Thomas Lemar and Diego Costa to step up.
Barcelona’s sturdy defence also have not lived up to expectations this season. The Catalans have conceded as many as 18 goals in 12 matches in the league so far and hence Diego Simeone will know that his team will always be in contention in this fixture.
Atletico Madrid announced their squad for the Barcelona tie on Friday and to everyone’s surprise academy graduates Toni Moya and Ricardo were included in the provisional lineup.