Diego Simeone was unwilling to discuss the prospect of Atletico Madrid signing Alvaro Morata after his side’s Copa del Rey exit.
Morata is reportedly close to joining Atletico having fallen out of favour at Chelsea, who are attempting to bring in Gonzalo Higuain.
Atletico are without Diego Costa as the striker is recovering from foot surgery, while Morata would be returning to the Spanish capital after previously playing for Real Madrid.
Strikers Antoine Griezmann and Nikola Kalinic were both on target in Wednesday’s 3-3 Copa del Rey draw at home to Girona, who progressed on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate tie as a result.
But Simeone refused to talk about the latest transfer speculation involving Morata’s move when he spoke at a post-match news conference.
“We are not going to talk about Morata because he is not with us,” he said.
“We understood that from the beginning of the match, we would be alright with [Thomas] Lemar and Kalinic as we gave rest to Griezmann.
“In the second half [Griezmann] came on and made it 3-2.”
1 – Atletico de Madrid have been knocked out at the last 16 stage of the Copa del Rey for the first time with Diego Simeone as manager. Surprise. pic.twitter.com/H46WL8cAqy
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 16, 2019
Atletico’s exit means they have been knocked out of the Copa del Rey at the last-16 stage for the first time in Simeone’s spell in charge.
“It was a beautiful match, a classic cup game,” said Simeone. “We had the intention of winning at all times.
“We got an early goal and had chances to extend our lead. Girona’s physical nature was their greatest ally.
“Congratulations to Girona – we gave everything, we continued to go for the comeback, but the 3-3 hurt us.
“I say to the fans what they saw: a side that gave everything. The intention was always to win the game.
“Sometimes you play well and do not advance. I prefer to play badly and always go through.”
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