Saturday, April 20, 2019

Griezmann uncertainty not a distraction, insists Atletico boss Simeone

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Apr 2019

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Atletico Madrid are not being distracted by the uncertainty around Antoine Griezmann’s future, head coach Diego Simeone insists.

Speculation has emerged in recent weeks that Griezmann is considering trying to leave the club, with Barcelona said to be ready to make him an offer.

Barca’s interest in the France star dominated headlines for much of 2018 until the player released a short film in which he confirmed his decision to stay with Atletico.

But Simeone does not believe the latest rumours are causing any further unrest, adding that Griezmann’s frustration at being substituted in the 4-0 win over Deportivo Alaves on Saturday was a positive sign.

“I think the team is calm,” he said ahead of Tuesday’s league game at home to Girona. “The other day, he came off angry because he wanted to keep playing, and that’s good.

“He’s one of the captains of our team and if there is something to report, he will do so, but he looks switched on for the end of the season and hopefully he can get back among the goals.”

Simeone is also backing Diego Costa to stay at the club for next season, despite suggestions he could leave just 18 months after his return from Chelsea.

“I want him to stay,” Simeone said of the striker, who is a doubt to face Girona with a hamstring injury. “His return helped us win the Europa League, be second in LaLiga, win the UEFA Super Cup…

“His presence, together with his team-mates, gives us a structure. He is at an ideal age. I trust him to the death.”

Atleti have been tipped to sign Alex Telles and Hector Herrera from Porto before next season regardless of the future of their own stars, but Simeone is refusing to discuss proposed targets.

“I’ve always been very respectful with the boys,” he added, “We’re playing a league with nine matches left; tomorrow [Tuesday], we measure ourselves against an opponent who make it very tough, and that’s what we’re worried about.

“I focus on the players we have here until the end of the season. After that, the club will report on anything.”

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