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Atletico Madrid v Sporting Gijon: Koke hungry for victory

Atletico Madrid need to return to winning ways and the fans at Vicente Calderon can help them achieve that against Sporting Gijon, says Koke.

After being held 1-1 by Deportivo La Coruna at the Riazor last week, Diego Simeone’s men stumbled to a goalless Champions League draw against Astana in Kazakhstan on Tuesday.

But the Madrid club have not lost a Liga match against Sporting on their own turf since 1987-88 and have been victorious in 12 of their last 14 top-flight clashes.

Koke – who has been included in Vicente del Bosque’s Spain squad for forthcoming friendlies with England and Belgium – believes they have the capacity to continue that fine run on Sunday and has called on the Vicente Calderon support to inspire them to victory.

“I think the team is very strong and eager to win. After these two draws we want to win. I think that if we do things well, we will achieve it,” the midfielder told Atletico’s official website.

“Sporting are not going to make it easy. They’re a team with great enthusiasm which came up from the second division and play good football.

“We expect a complicated match, but we will be at home, wanting to win for the fans. I hope we can get the three points.”

Sporting overcame Malaga last time out, sending them up to 12th place in the table.

Barcelona loanee Alen Halilovic scored the only goal in the 1-0 home win and is enjoying a run of first-team football under coach Abelardo.

The Croatia playmaker acknowledged that his team – who are yet to secure successive victories this season – are firm underdogs on Sunday but hopes they can leave the capital with something to show for their efforts.

“I scored my first goal at El Molinon,” Halilovic said. “We’re going to continue this way. I want to keep learning and keep helping the team.

“It will be a very difficult game; the Calderon’s a very complicated ground. But we’ve worked well during the week leading up to the game.

“Atletico Madrid are favourites, but if we can play our football, we could beat them or come away with a draw. If we use our system well, we can get a result.”

Atletico striker Luciano Vietto is back in training after suffering from appendicitis, while Angel Correa is available again having not travelled with the squad to Kazakhastan due to the birth of his child.

Sporting will welcome back Nacho Cases from suspension, but Carlos Castro (back), Roberto Canella (groin) and Tonny Sanabria (hamstring) are doubts.

Fri 6 Nov, 2015
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