‘Atleti won’t be watching Clasico’

Diego Simeone is adamant that no-one from Atletico Madrid will watch Saturday’s Clasico as Espanyol “is all that matters to me”.

Atleti could fall 12 points behind La Liga leaders and city rivals Real Madrid once Saturday is over, in the event Los Blancos beat Barcelona, making their visit of Espanyol all the more important.

“We’re not thinking past this match, we only want to have a good game,” the Coach said at a Press conference.

“The Derbi a turning point? A big defeat like that hurts, but at the same time the team have shown reaction force and great competitiveness.

“We’ve bounced back from difficult situations, we’re improving and finding our rhythm. The Copa was very important for the growth of players we need, which creates competition that we can’t afford to lose.

“I won’t allow us to lose it because if anything, we’re strong as a group. It’s our internal competition that has always made us better on the outside.

“Quique and Espanyol? Quique has done important things for this club, it wasn’t easy for him at that time, when the club weren’t winning trophies.

“He put them in a spectacular place. I remember going to see the [2009 Europa League] final in Monaco as a fan.

“It was a great joy, he did very good work here. Espanyol had problems defensively, but they’re more balanced now and when you have good players, you’re always nearer to your objectives.

“Carrasco as a forward? It’s an option, possibly for matches with spaces in advanced areas as opposed to ones with no space in our opponents’ box.

“He needs space to exploit its speed, and in that sense he’s very good, he’s improving in front of goal, which is good for the team and him because it makes him grow as a player.

“I consider him as a midfielder-forward because he can play out wide for the effort he puts in, and up top he’s growing.

“That’s always appreciated because he gives us possibilities for another body to join the attack.

“Canteranos? One of my objectives when I arrived was to always play some young lads. First it was Koke, then Saul, Thomas…

“Now there are more young lads coming up, with things to improve on. We always keep an eye on our youth teams.

“We also understand that he players formed by the club have different sensations to those coming from the outside, which is logical.

“We look at them, and when we can use them, we do it to see if they can give us a helping hand.

“The Clasico? I don’t think anyone at Atletico will watch the Clasico, we’re only thinking about ourselves. Espanyol is all that matters to me.

“La Liga? It’s still very competitive, Madrid have taken the most important results, then there’s been the step forward of Sevilla, Athletic, La Real and Villarreal, which has made the League interesting.

“It’s not easy to win away from home as there are problems at any stadium, something that wasn’t seen so much in previous years, although there will be differences between some teams and others.”

Tags Clasico Diego Simeone