NEWS
Saturday September 16 2017
Simeone: Fans must play part

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone assures “the fans will play a role like they won’t even be able to imagine” at Wanda Metropolitano.

The 67,703-seater stadium, renovated at a cost of €240m, will open its doors on Saturday for Atleti’s clash with Malaga, but Simeone made it clear he preferred “to do his thing” from the sidelines than add to the euphoria surrounding the arena.

“We’ve been playing a lot of games away from home,” the Coach said at a Press conference.

“It’s a joy to play at home and with our fans, we need them. That’s what's important.

“After that, it’ll depend on what the players can show on the pitch, but we’ll need to adapt like other teams do when they move to a new stadium.

“We’re only looking at Malaga, they have good players and a good Coach. That’s what I’m looking at.

“You have to be focused and prepare to be comfortable in a game, and it makes us happy that the fans can help us.

“Almost all the players have chances, especially Luciano [Vietto]. He’s being criticised, but he’s doing very well for the team.

“Strikers for goals and have that responsibility, but they must also help the team work well defensively. That matters a lot to me.

“We’ll see if we keep creating chances like at Valencia and Roma. If we do, the goals will follow.

“Keeping the team focused? We know that the most important thing for us is the three points. We have important options within the team.

“Our four central midfielders are capable of reaching the opposing goal, especially Saul and Koke.

“Carrasco’s more individual and explosive, while Gaitan has a better vision of the game.

“Competition is very good and I’ll squeeze the characteristics of each one for what the team needs.

“Scorer of the first goal? I don’t see it as decisive, the most important thing is that it’s scored.

“It’ll be a stadium on the outskirts [of Madrid], with things to improve on, but that’s normal, it’s new.

“Inside the stadium is impressive. I can see the fans pushing the team on and nothing else.

“They’ll have a role that they won’t even be able to imagine. [The stadium] can fit more fans than the Calderon. They’ll have a better view and better feelings.

“Looking from below, we’ll see that there are many fans around us, and that ability to push us will lift us up.

“My words, before an event like the opening of new stadium, is that a lot of people talk. I prefer to do my thing, which is to coach, so that the club, fans and players can play the game in the best possible way.”

Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Juanfran, Godin, Lucas, Filipe; Koke, Gabi, Thomas, Saul; Griezmann, Correa

Injuries/suspensions: Gimenez, Vrsajlko, Augusto (I)

Malaga: Roberto; Rosales, Luis Hernandez, Diego Gonzalez, Ricca; Recio, Rolon; Chory, Adrian, Mula; Baston

Injuries/suspensions: Gonen, En-Nesyri, Cecchini, Juan Carlos, Penaranda (I)

Referee: Sanchez Martinez

Form guide: Atleti (D W D - -) Malaga (L L L - -)

Previous meeting: Malaga 0-2 Atleti

Kick-off time: 19:45 BST/20:45 CET

Football Italia website