Diego Simeone isn’t bothered by critics of Atletico Madrid, rather welcoming the spotlight as he believes it helps the team improve.

Atletico on Wednesday host Astana, the Kazakh side unable to bring a full squad to Spain due to injuries, but Simeone isn’t taking the visitors lightly.

“In principle we know they have a lot of talent in midfield. They have powerful centre-backs who are very tall and work well in the penalty, with intensity,” he said, AS reports.

“They’re intense and competitive, and play the ball well. We’re immersed in what we need to do.

“We need to win and play a good game. We’ve prepared as well as possible, then what happens is not for us to answer. We’re going to assume they can play a better game.

“We’ve seen Astana’s games and that gives me a good feeling. They did well against Benfica until the second half. They always had options against Galatasaray.

“I’m surprised they always want to play good football. They’re compact. I’ve seen an intense team that doesn’t give up any game for lost, and grows in confidence as the game goes on.”

It was put to Simeone that Atletico have come under fire for recent performances but the Coach revealed he welcomes the regular judgements of his side.

“I like criticism. It makes you grow, to try to improve. I wouldn’t like it if Atletico, based on what we’re doing, didn’t have pressure to improve,” Cholo continued.

“We’re one of the best teams in Europe and it’s normal that it’s required. We have to live with these demands to win and entertain, and it’s not easy.

“We have the option to play Antoine Griezmann alone or we could also play him with Luciano Vietto, but we’re counting on Jackson Martinez and Fernando Torres for now.

“Hopefully they enhance the team, but there is the option to play without either of them. Any game is a good one to score in. [Wednesday], because it’s the next one. Forwards live for goals and it’s a good opportunity.”

Tags Diego Simeone