Simeone: Ban won’t weaken Atleti

Diego Simeone has insisted that Atletico Madrid will not fall behind their rivals as a result of their FIFA-imposed transfer embargo.

Los Colchoneros were banned, alongside their arch-rivals Real Madrid, from making any signings in the next two transfer windows on Thursday after they were found to have broken rules regarding the international transfers of minors.

“I really liked [Jackson Martinez’s performance],” the Coach said after Atleti’s 3-0 win against Rayo Vallecano in the Copa del Rey last 16 later in the day.

“He was an absolute reference point in the match for us, did well with his back to goal and worked hard.

“Hopefully the goals will follow because he has them in him.

“It’s just a matter of waiting and hoping his nervousness doesn’t affect us.

“The difference we have with other teams isn’t the starting XI but the 18 who are in the squad.

“The players who come off the bench are important and show important facts.

“Those who start or come on in the second half make a qualitative leap in the games.

“That’s the strength we need in order to compete with the teams who want to compete.

“Rayo had a good grasp of the ball in the first 20 minutes, but we were much better once we switched to 4-4-2.

“We found it easier to hurt them and created chances.

“In the second half, the match was more even, more compact and forceful.

“You could see the team in a stronger light than the first 20 minutes.

“We’re witnessing a great Copa del Rey. There are many mid-table teams [in the quarter-final draw] and that speaks highly of the cup. At this stage, any tie is difficult.

“[On Atleti’s transfer ban, the club] have reported the situation to [the squad] and the club will appeal, which is what was discussed in the chat I had with the hierarchy.

“[On whether the situation will put them at a disadvantage next season], no.

“I don’t have an opinion [on the possibility of making more signings in January].

“The notification came at two or three in the afternoon, so I don’t have much else to say.”

Tags Diego Simeone