Simeone: “I see a Barcelona that I really like”


The Atlético de Madrid coach, Diego Pablo Simeone, has acknowledged that he likes Xavi Hernández’s FC Barcelona “a lot”, whom they will face this Sunday at the Spotify Camp Nou, and has highlighted that they have “improved in defence” and that that has given him “a plus”, in addition to lamenting the conservative “stigma” that people have imposed on his team.

“I see a Barcelona that I really like. It has grown enormously since the arrival of Xavi, it has a pure Barcelona style, which, based on the characteristics of its players, has grown game after game, having a great season to this day in LaLiga”, declared in press conference.

In addition, he pointed out that this improvement has been based on his greatest defensive strength. “He has improved in defense, and that is a plus for a style of play that will always be offensive, because Barcelona historically has those characteristics. The characteristics of its players and the fact of improving the defensive part with players with offensive characteristics means that it has added value to the work that Xavi is doing”, he indicated.

“Barcelona, ​​in all these years, has always had very good squads and very good teams. It has been difficult for us to win, the numbers show it. We have always competed quite well, so we will try to continue in our line, looking for our way, leading the match where we believe we can hurt them, knowing what we need to do,” he added.

Despite the good numbers in recent months for the rojiblanco team, the Argentine coach rules out that they can fight for LaLiga Santander. “What everyone in LaLiga imagines does not interest me. Tomorrow we have an important game and we have to play it in the way we believe we can continue in this line in which we are,” he said.

He also rejected the polarity discourse between the styles of Atlético and Barça. “From the start of the season until the World Cup we weren’t in the best way. If we go back to two years ago when we won LaLiga, it was won because we played well. The stigma of a defined style is generated and people don’t watch the games , give your opinion for the sake of giving your opinion,” he insisted.

“Barcelona improves defensively, City works very well defensively, we have improved offensively… Teams evolve. It is easier to say that one attacks and the other defends, but in reality there has been growth over the years that has changed the characteristics of our players,” he continued.

In another order of things, the ‘Cholo was full of praise for the French striker Antoine Griezmann, leader in attack of his team. “There will always have been players who have changed their position and have grown as they go. Antoine’s growth has always been extraordinary, he is a noble boy, a team player, one of the most important footballers we have in our squad. When he is well , the team plays different football”, he acknowledged.

“We suffered during a part of last season because he had not reached his level, we suffered in the first part of the season, and now he is extraordinarily well. I will always remember the game before the World Cup, in the Copa del Rey, minute 90, running like a 19-year-old boy who had just made his debut, having the World Cup four days away; not everyone has that, and he has it,” he continued.

He also ruled out the presence of Memphis Depay at the Camp Nou Spotify. “The doctors will report. He is not training with us yet, but we hope that as he grows, because we see him train and he is quite well, he can join the squad in future games. I am not worried about it, because the players always have a recovery time and you have to wait for that moment so that he returns in the best way, as he was playing”, he expressed.

Finally, he did not want to assess the statements by the coach of his rival this Saturday, Xavi Hernández, about the fact of playing with so much sun. “I am not of opinion of what my colleagues or any footballer think. I have my own thought: we have to play at the time they put us and we have to be prepared for any situation,” he concluded.