Tiago Mendes has admitted that Jackson Martinez is still adjusting to life at Atletico Madrid but insists the striker will soon show his “tremendous quality”.
The Colombia international has scored just one goal since arriving from Porto for €35m in the summer, again being hauled off at half-time against Villarreal on Saturday, but the midfielder is adamant his new teammate will be worth the wait.
“[Strikers] help us out a lot defensively and do a great job,” he said at a Press conference ahead of Atleti’s Champions League visit of Benfica on Tuesday.
“Strikers don’t only score goals for us. The [defensive] work they do is important.
“Jackson is still learning how to play in our system because [his new role] is very different to [the one at] Porto.
“Nonetheless, he possesses tremendous quality and we expect him to show it. Everyone’s calm because he’s a great player.
“[On losing to Villarreal], Villarreal surprised us with their pressing and we couldn’t move the ball like we wanted.
“They scored their goal and had only one more chance. When we adjusted [to the game’s demands], we were comfortable and had chances, but the truth is that we were too slow in doing so.
“[On Koke’s injury], we’re well-covered and therefore we must give confidence to [all our midfielders] and move forward because it’s important.
“[On playing against former club Benfica], it’ll be a very special match and a very happy day.
“[On the possibility of extending his contract, which expires at the end of the season], I’d like to finish my career at Atletico Madrid.”