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Simeone delighted with Atletico depth

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has hailed his attacking weapons ahead of their Group B Europa League fixture against Viktoria Plzen.

Simeone’s side have made a strong start to their Europa League campaign with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Israeli outfit Hapoel Tel-Aviv in their opening match.

The defending champions have now won a staggering 14 matches in a row in the European competition and will be favoured to make it 15 when they host Viktoria Plzen at the Estadio Vicente Calderon on Thursday.

With in-form Colombian striker Radamel Falcao receiving great support from Raul Garcia and Diego Costa, Simeone admitted that Adrian Lopez will struggle to force his way into the starting line-up, although remains confident all of his attackers can do the job when called upon.

“I feel absolutely responsible for not giving him (Lopez) the minutes he has deserved,” he said.

“I don’t look towards the future or the past. Everyday things are getting better. (Diego) Costa is in great form, Raul (Garcia) is phenomenal, Falcao is Falcao.

“So we feel confident that we can rely on any of these four players at any moment.”

Garcia, who is enjoying his second stint at Atletico after spending last season at Osasuna, has scored twice in just three appearances and is relishing playing under Simeone.

“He is taking advantage of the minutes he is being given and is showing all the signs of playing like the player we saw last year with Osasuna,” Simeone said of Garcia.

“I have known him since he was a kid and he has not changed at all, he’s still a very respectful, humble and hard-working young man.

“Everything that is happening to him now is well deserved because he worked hard for it.”

Atletico remain one of the tournament favourites and have also made a strong start in La Liga, but Simeone is not looking anywhere past Thursday’s clash.

“We only think about what is just ahead of us while we train. Important teams never dwell on the past, otherwise they will start living in the past,” he said.

“We are only thinking about tomorrow’s match. It seems ridiculous saying that but that’s how it is. Sunday is far away. What happened last year is now in the past and has nothing to do with who we are this year.

“It’s too early to be talking about who will win the competition in my opinion. There just numbers which speak statistically.

“We are playing a rival who have also won their first match – a competitive and tough opponent, an opponent with a very quick defence and who works well in dead ball situations. We can’t switch off during this match.”

Thu 4 October, 2012
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