‘Winter champions means nothing’

Koke has claimed that it will mean nothing to be named winter champions, as his Atletico Madrid side prepare to host Barcelona.

The capital club face a top of the table clash with the Blaugrana on Saturday, but the young midfielder has insisted that, despite it being a tough game, there are still 19 games to go until the end of the season.

“There's still the entire second half of the season to play, but without a doubt it's a very important game,” he told a Press conference.

“Up to now we still haven't decided how we are going to approach the game because we've just had one recovery session [after the Copa del Rey match with Valencia].

“Tomorrow we will conduct a deeper analysis of the game. We played well in both Supercopa matches. To play well against Barcelona you have to work very hard, close them down, be tight at the back and be strong on the counterattack.

“We have to try as hard as possible to take the ball off them. But we all know that it's difficult to do that against them. 

“Whoever is top halfway through the season is anecdotal if you don't fulfill your objectives come the end of the season. The second half of the season is going to be a long one. If we win on Saturday and then implode, it will mean nothing.”

Tags Koke