Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has assured that Alessio Cerci “will certainly contribute” before the end of the season ahead of Saturday’s trip to Malaga.
Cerci has yet to appear in La Liga this season, but Atleti’s personnel crisis – which sees Simeone deprived of seven first-team players – has prompted the Italian forward’s inclusion in the 16 that have travelled to La Rosaleda.
“Cerci in the squad? He’s been working well for a long time, at first we didn’t consider him because of his physical condition, but he’ll certainly contribute at some point this season,” the Coach said at a Press conference.
“We’ll face the game with enthusiasm and positive energy, at a stadium that will be difficult like always.
“It’s difficult after an international break to analyse how everything is. If it was after the game against Sevilla, I’d tell you about that day, but now we have to start again. It happens to everyone, so we’ll see what happens.
“Difficult season for Juanfran? He’s very well, as a person he’s optimistic and people like him see everything in a good way.
“All the situations that he’s faced have strengthened him and put him in the best way to compete.
“You could see it the other day, when he came on a minute later and played as if he had warmed up from the beginning.
“We’re only thinking about Malaga and nothing else or any other situation, it’s not convenient.
“[Malaga] will be a complex team to play, with the changes made by their new Coach and the good players they have.
“[New Malaga boss] Michel has turned around a lot of teams, leaving his mark and an idea of how to play.
“The international break will have been good for him to transmit the concrete ideas that he has and I’m sure that he will have found his best formula.
“Problems facing Malaga? I always see the best version of our opponents, not the negative one.
“From that, I try to find the ways we can compete well. At home and for how they’ll play, they’ll pose us many problems.
“La Rosaleda? I’ve had joy and excitement after so many years at the club. I’m returning to the place where we started, but I won’t get away from reality.
“[The fans] will value me for what I do tomorrow and not for what I did in the last six years.”
Malaga (probable): Kameni; Rosales, Diego Llorente, Luis Hernandez, Juan Carlos; Fornals, Camacho, Jose Rodríguez, Keko; Michael Santos, Chory
Injuries/suspensions: Charles (S) En-Nesyri (I) Kone (I) Kuzmanovic (I) Recio (I) Sandro (I)
Atletico Madrid (probable): Oblak; Juanfran, Savic, Lucas, Filipe; Koke, Gabi, Thomas, Saul; Griezmann, Fernando Torres
Injuries/suspensions: Augusto (I) Carrasco (S) Gameiro (S) Moya (I) Gaitan (I) Tiago (I) Vrsaljko (I)
Referee: Trujillo Suarez
Form guide: Malaga (D L L L L) Atleti (W W W D L)
Previous meeting: Atleti 4-2 Malaga
Kick-off time: 19:45 BST/20:45 CET