‘We won’t replace Falcao, but…’

Diego Simeone has downplayed Radamel Falcao’s absence, encouraged tomorrow’s opponents Espanyol and almost completely rejected talk of the title.

Colombian striker Falcao will not be available for Week 6’s trip to Cornella El-Prat due to a thigh injury picked up in midweek.

However, Simeone has made clear that the intention is not to look for a like for like replacement in his absence.

“The objective is not to cover for Radamel’s absence,” he reiterated from an earlier point today.

“The team is good, there is much competition internally, the players are eager to play and the intent is to enter the field with the people who can get us the best result, especially for the match that we are next preparing for. And on that basis we work.

“As I have understood, he has picked up a regular injury.”

The capital club travel to Catalonia this weekend to face an out of form Espanyol currently joint bottom of the League with just a single point to their name.

Even so, Simeone was respectful of the side coached by compatriot Mauricio Pochettino.

“They are a team with great players, who probably have fewer points than they deserve and who have been ahead in the scoring in almost every game in which they have played.

“They have great players like Simao, Verdu, Longo… a good midfield with experienced players, they are an important team, with Capdevila on the flanks too, with all the experience needed.

“They have a centre-back called Moreno, who has surprised me for how good he is. He has played very well and has started the season well. They are a team that plays a good game.

“They always follow a basis similar to us, with balance, stability, going game by game and approach every game based on the characteristics of their players and on those of their opponents.

“It is why we are changing for this game and will continue to changing based on who we have available. They are a team with fewer points than they deserve, that’s for sure.”

Conversely to Espanyol, Atletico have enjoyed an excellent start to the season. However, it is not enough to get Simeone carried away just yet.

“Since I arrived, we have sought for a line that I have always managed with, think about things day to day. It is impossible that what we can determine and we can compete for is the same as what we can dream and delude ourselves with what we would like.

“We would like a lot of things, but the reality is what happens tomorrow. Everything else gets left behind and we play for Sunday’s game, one that invites us to be vigilant, to know that we will come up against a tough opponent who is playing well.

“I do not think that the Atletico fans will think about it when we lose.”

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