Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres says his team can cope with their injury crisis ahead of Saturday’s La Liga match against Real Betis.
With Barcelona in Clasico action against Real Madrid later in the day, Atletico have the chance to close the gap on the league leaders to just six points.
Diego Simeone has problems at the back with Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez both injured, although Stefan Savic could be fit to return.
Atletico also have a Champions League tie against Barca to look forward to next week, but Torres insists the team is fully focused on Betis.
“Our motto is game to game,” said Torres. “And we won’t look beyond the encounter with Betis.
“The more players we have fit for this game, the better. The team can overcome the injuries.
“[My dream is] to win the title with Atletico. I want to celebrate a title with this team. We’ve experienced very good things. I started [with Atletico] in the Segunda, so it would be the perfect finishing touch for me.”
Godin has trained this week but is not expected to be fit to play, with Tiago and Lucas Hernandez also missing out, but Saul Niguez could return. For Betis, Cristiano Piccini’s ACL injury continues to keep him out of action.
Atletico go into the game in fine form, winning eight of their last 10 home league matches, while they have also beaten Real Betis in each of the last five meetings between the sides without conceding a goal.
But defender German Pezzella believes Betis can pull off a shock result at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday despite his team losing their last two league matches.
“If we play well, focus as we have been in other games, we can perform against any rival,” Pezzella said.
“This means that we have chances to get a positive result. Obviously, Atletico is a great team, they are very strong at home and it is very difficult to score against them.
“We know how they play, their intensity, defensive order and they have dangerous strikers who can score any chance.
“They are very strong in defence, they are focused throughout the 90 minutes. We need to try to have ball possession, but we also need to be careful because they are very quick in counter-attack.”
Key Opta stats:
– Betis have won just one of their last eight games away from home in La Liga (D2 L5), but they have scored in each of the last four.
– No side in La Liga history had conceded just 14 goals after the opening 30 games before Atletico did this season.
– Just two of the last 11 Atletico goals at home have come in the first half.
– Antoine Griezmann has scored the first goal of the game a joint-high nine times this season, level with Karim Benzema.
– The French player has scored in his last five La Liga games (five goals), equaling his best goalscoring run for Atletico (5 in April 2015.