Thursday, June 20, 2019

Clasico only matters if Atletico Madrid win, insists Simeone

SoccerNews in La Liga 2 Mar 2019

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El Clasico will only become important to Atletico Madrid if they beat Real Sociedad on Sunday, Diego Simeone has warned.

Barcelona head to Real Madrid on Saturday just three days on from a 3-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu that saw them reach the Copa del Rey final.

Another victory for Ernesto Valverde’s side will put them 12 points above Madrid in the LaLiga table, effectively ending the European champions’ title challenge.

Although Atletico fans would usually welcome a defeat for their city rivals, a loss for Barca and an Atleti victory over Sociedad would see them close to within four points of the league leaders.

Simeone, though, is only interested in making sure his side get the win they need, and not where the loyalties of the fan base lie.

“We have to think about ourselves,” the Atleti boss told a news conference.

“What interests an Atletico fan is that their team wins, because if we don’t do our job, the rest isn’t worth anything.

“Everything can be good or bad, but what we have to do is win. I don’t think an Atletico fan is wondering what to think [about the Clasico]. What the fan wants is for their team to win. Other results are other matters.”

Strikers Diego Costa and Nikola Kalinic are set to miss the match at Anoeta, but Simeone hopes to welcome both back to full training next week ahead of a home match against Leganes.

“I think they’ll be with the group next week. We have to solve the situations in the team and strengthening the players who we have available for this game,” he said.

“There was a time when we were doing very well at Real Sociedad’s stadium. We’ve struggled in the last two visits.

“They have a great team, who play good football. They have great players who work as a team, particularly in the big games.”

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