Simeone: “The ‘Champions’ is a big challenge that we still have to face”


The coach of Atlético de Madrid, Diego Pablo Simeone, has assured that the Champions League, which starts for the red and white team this Tuesday in Rome against Lazio, is “a big challenge” that remains “pending”, and has stated the game played by Maurizio Sarri, his counterpart on the Italian bench, he has always “liked it” and has learned “many things” from it.

“I have a lot of confidence in the team’s play, although we played a bad game, but another one comes soon. The ‘Champions’ is coming, a competition that has cost us a lot in recent times; we face it with great enthusiasm and as a great challenge that we face. remains pending,” he declared at a press conference.

In addition, he valued last Saturday’s painful defeat against Valencia in Mestalla (3-0). “We have a way of playing. The other day, the game did not start in the best way; beyond not having played a great game, the center that Axel -Witsel- touches, which changes the direction of the ball, begins to generate a different game. We couldn’t react to that game,” he stressed. “We are coming from a game in which we were not able to play our football. We know who we will play against and we hope to play a good game,” he said.

In addition, he downplayed the poor start of his rival in Serie A, with three defeats in the first four games. “The season is starting and the numbers count when they end. Neither Lazio nor Atlético have started well, but the road is long, and seasons are how they end, not how they begin. Lazio is a strong team, and tomorrow we will see a beautiful match because of the game that Lazio plays and the game that we want to show,” he expressed.

On the other hand, the Argentine coach praised the work of transalpine coach Maurizio Sarri, whom he will meet this Tuesday at the Olympic Stadium. “I really like Sarri’s game, I have always liked him, we have taken many things from his game for our own, to improve as a team,” he said.

“Lazio is a team that has very good possession, that closes the spaces very well, that possesses to find numerical superiority and that has dangerous people offensively. The results were not what was expected, but there is a team that knows what who wants, with a coach who is very good. We have to take the game to where we believe we can hurt them,” he continued.

In another vein, the mattress coach spoke about his options for the left lane, where he has Riquelme, Javi Galán and Samu Lino. “The three have different characteristics. Javi Galán is a winger converted into a wing-back, with more characteristics from defensive to offensive; Riquelme, with spaces, can generate much more danger and quick transition; Lino is more of an associative game so that the team can find speed and possession of the ball in the rival field,” he analyzed.

“Lino didn’t play the other day because he had a mini-injury; when 45 minutes passed I understood that there was no need to take risks with his presence. Tomorrow he will be fresh, just like Riquelme, who did a correct defensive job and couldn’t respond defensively. as we hope. We hope to find the one who does the best for the team,” he noted.

‘Cholo’, a Lazio player between 1999 and 2003, acknowledged that he gets “goosebumps” when thinking about the year 2000, when he won Serie A, the Italian Cup and the Italian Super Cup with the team. “Everything reminds me of that extraordinary year. I have great memories for the fans, thank you with all my heart for all the affection I receive when I come to Rome and Italy,” he said.

Finally, he refused to assess what reception he expects from the fans of his former team. “I have a way of living, you have to give without waiting. When you expect something and it doesn’t happen, it tastes bad. The affection that people show me is more than what could happen tomorrow,” he concluded.