Atletico Madrid captain Gabi Fernandez has waded in on the debate surrounding the controversial 11pm kick-offs, stating they: “benefit no-one. And us less so.”
Atleti begin their 2012-13 Primera campaign with a trip to Levante this Sunday night, but the game kicks off at 11pm local time, so won’t finish until the early hours of Monday.
The capital club have been indignant in their reaction to the Spanish League’s timetabling, particularly with consideration to Week 2’s Monday night game handed to the club, just four days before they play Chelsea for the UEFA Super Cup.
“We know these times will not benefit anyone. And us less so,” reflected Gabi after training today.
“Perhaps before the most important game for us, they timetable us for Monday, so it does not benefit us at all. We start [2012-13], though, without regrets.
“We begin the season with lots of enthusiasm and a lot of confidence after the final leg of last season.
“We’re thinking only about Levante, we have prepared all pre-season for this match. We’re just thinking about winning.
“Clearly, we’re missing some key players in the team [Juanfran Torres and Filipe Luis are out injured] and this upsets our plans, but the Coach will find solutions that are necessary and the team is balanced so as to try to overcome these problems.”
Gabi also confirmed that the ambition, as pointed out by Tiago Mendes, is to finish third.
“We know that to be there we have to be consistent and we’ll start tomorrow. These first 10 League games will be important to get a good dynamic and points that will take us to the heights of qualifying.”