Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone believes Saul Niguez has “absolutely everything” and what it takes to replace Tiago Mendes against Granada.
Tiago’s fractured tibia, which will keep him sidelined for the next four months, has opened up the opportunity for Saul to stake his claim in the Atleti side, and his Coach has challenged him to make the berth his own, starting at Los Carmenes on Saturday.
“Everything we’ve achieved [ahead of his 150th La Liga game] has been thanks to the work of the coaching staff and players,” he said at a Press conference.
“In addition, it’s been thanks to the stability of the club over the past four years.
“It’s great to meet 150 games, but it won’t help us beat Granada.
“[Jackson Martinez] is working with the physios to find his optimal condition.
“There’s no trouble, but he must return in good shape because the demands are so great.
“A player operating at a lower level can’t give us what we need.
“We have Saul, Koke and Gabi in Tiago’s position. Saul has absolutely everything – passing, intensity, a good outlet and goals.
“He needs to play with emotional balance and intensity, but we only demand these things of him because we want him to grow. We hope he has a good match in Granada.
“He doesn’t need to be like Tiago. Each player has their own characteristics and qualities, and what we try to do is empower them. The team try to take advantage of each player.
“[On Fernando Torres’ 100th goal], the more you talk about things, the less chance of them happening, but I’m convinced his time is very near. The goals will come naturally.
“We still have to be stronger. This team was built on defensive solidity and a clinical attack.
“We need to be those two things more regularly so the team can continue to grow.
“[On Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey expulsion], Jacinta receives everything.
“She sends everything to the sports management and Pedro Pablo, our match delegate.
“The goals will come for us. Strikers score in bursts we have to continue working hard in order to make them happen.”