‘Fans staying close to Atleti’

Diego Simeone believes Atletico Madrid have to be grounded even as they lead La Liga, emphasising the importance of the supporters staying close to the team.

Los Colchoneros top the Primera table, leading Barcelona, who have a game in hand, but Simeone stressed how crucial it is the club remembers their roots.

“It’s important for the fans to be near the team. It always has been. When I played, whether it went well, or not, when we were in an uncomfortable position, the team was near the fans,” he said, AS reports.

“I don’t think that will change while Atletico are leaders. The people are always with the team, in both positive and negative circumstances.”

Cholo was speaking prior to Atletico’s Copa del Rey tie with Rayo Vallecano and warned of the danger posed by their neighbours, and confirmed new signings Matias Kranevitter and Augusto Fernandez could be involved.

“I stand by what I said when the draw was made, Rayo are an attacking team, they score in almost every game. We have to be alert,” the Coach continued.

“It’s a good opportunity for Kranevitter to play if he has all the documentation needed, a good opportunity to see him.

“Augusto played for Celta and will have no problem playing in this game.”

Another Madrid club, Real Madrid, have this week changed their Coach, and Simeone was asked about Rafa Benitez’s exit and Zinedine Zidane’s arrival.

“Nothing that happens at Madrid affects me,” he said in reply.

“Whenever a Coach is sacked it’s not good for the rest of us. It hurts. You accept it because it’s part of the game. I want to wish all the best to the Coach coming in and strength to the Coach that has left.

“It could be any of us. Benitez is a great Coach with a great history and I wish him well.”

Tags Diego Simeone