Diego Simeone has urged Atletico Madrid’s fans to be “one more player for us” when his much-changed side host Osasuna in La Liga on Saturday.
Captain Gabi has been rested and Koke is suspended, paving the way for the likes of Josema Gimenez, Thomas Partey, Nico Gaitan, Angel Correa and possibly Tiago Mendes – the Portuguese midfielder in line for his first appearance of 2017 after recovering from a knee injury.
“The fans have to understand that the team have been making big efforts against Real Madrid, Leicester four days later, now Osasuna, then in England…” the Coach said at a Press conference.
“The fans have to be with us, and on Saturday we need them to not just watch a football match but also be one more player for us. If they are, things will surely be better.
“Rotations? After training, I’ll pick the players that I think are best to take the game to where it’s most comfortable for us.
“Gaitan? Nico was on the bench in our last game and played football for 20 minutes on Thursday.
“Everything is a sum of situations that favour the collective. For this run-in, we need the most effort from the 21 players that we have at our disposal, including the goalkeepers. We’ll try to squeeze as much out of them as possible.
“Osasuna? We’ll have to take the game to where it’s most comfortable for us. This game will be decisive, there are only a few matchdays left, these are seven finals and I consider Saturday’s game to be one of them.
“Lack of concentration? If that happens then the responsibility will be absolutely mine.
“Defensive work? I think that at the start of 2017, we started to have a more cooperative and better unit, and it’s clear that from there, we began to grow in all aspects.
“Such collective effort is welcome, so that our individual talent can win games.”
Atletico Madrid (probable): Oblak; Juanfran, Godin, Gimenez, Filipe; Saul, Tiago, Thomas, Gaitan; Griezmann, Correa
Injuries/suspensions: Augusto (I) Gameiro (I) Koke (S) Moya (doubtful) Vrsaljko (I)
Osasuna (probable): Sirigu; Oier, David Garcia, Fuentes; Bunuel, Tienza, Causic, De las Cuevas, Clerc; Sergio Leon, Kodro
Injuries/suspensions: Digard, Imanol, Javi Flano, Miguel Flano, Loe, Riviere, Tano, Unai (all injured)
Referee: Melero Lopez
Form guide: Atleti (D W W W W) Osasuna (W W L L D)
Previous meeting: Osasuna 0-3 Atleti
Kick-off time: 17:30 BST/18:30 CET