Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone is a keen admirer of Jorge Sampaoli, but believes comparisons between his Sevilla counterpart and South American coaching great Marcelo Bielsa are wide of the mark.
Atleti travel to Sevilla for an intriguing LaLiga encounter on Sunday, with Simeone’s men top of the table heading into the weekend fixtures – a point above their hosts in third.
Sampaoli succeeded Unai Emery after the former Valencia boss moved on to Paris Saint-Germain on the back of a third successive Europa League crown.
It marked a return to club football for the 56-year-old Argentinian, who led Chile to Copa America glory to prompt comparisons with countryman Bielsa’s time in charge of La Roja between 2007 and 2011.
Simeone played under Bielsa for the Argentina national team and credits him as one of the many coaches to have influenced his own approach in the dugout, although he does not necessarily recognise a common thread between the 61-year-old and Sampaoli.
“I have the influence of several coaches: Bielsa, [Sven-Goran] Eriksson, [Alfio] Basile … they have left a mark, but I see no comparison between Bielsa and Sampaoli,” he told a pre-match news conference.
“I see a great coach with very clear ideas but I never like comparisons.”
Simeone’s Atletico have shown a more expansive style this season, adding flourishes to the dogged hard-working defensive approach that has become their calling card and the coach credits the players at his disposal for their role in this evolution.
“I’m not a coach who thinks there is only play one way, my way is not the only one that counts,” he added.
“I value my players and from them I seek the best way to play together.”
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