Simeone puts faith in Saul

Diego Simeone has backed Saul Niguez to stake his claim in the Atletico Madrid first team by handing him another opportunity against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

The 20-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough season at Vicente Calderon this term, scoring two goals in 15 appearances for the Spanish champions, and the Coach is prepared to aid the midfielder's development with more top-level experience.

"Yes, we're sure we can overcome Athletic, but it's not so easy," he told reporters at a Press conference, ahead of a game that sees Mario Mandzukic out through suspension.

"[Antoine] Griezmann can play as a centre forward in a 4-4-2 thanks to his place, or the wings with Raul Jimenez in a 4-3-3.

"We'll see how we start the game and consequently we'll be able to change things.

"It is very difficult to give the lads they minutes they want. Saul, again, happens to come from the bench to start.

"It's happened to him several times this season and this is another opportunity. It's an important game. He played against Juventus and will play in Bilbao.

"I think this whole experience for such a young guy is great. I believe that his traits make him more apt to start [against Athletic].

"If we start with Jimenez, we wouldn't have any alternatives to bring on later in the game. You have to consider the entire 90 minutes."

Tags Diego Simeone Saul Niguez