Simeone: Competition is beautiful

Diego Simeone believes competition in La Liga is “beautiful” ahead of Atletico Madrid’s game against Las Palmas on Saturday.

Atleti are level on points with Sevilla in the battle for fourth place, although the Andalusians lead as things stand with a superior head-to-head.

“It’s been five and a half years that we’ve handled ourselves in the same way in all the situations we’ve experienced,” the Coach said at a Press conference.

“They know me and I know how to work with the players.

“We’ll work to be prepared for our next match, which is [on Saturday]. Las Palmas play football well, with an attacking dynamic.

“We didn’t play some of our regulars against Leganes, I imagine they’ll be fresh and enthusiastic. A typical, end-of-season game awaits us.

“Gameiro? He’s doing well, he came on for 30 minutes against Espanyol and also the other day.

“He’s continuing to train. He’s feeling better and stronger. He has a chance, alongside Fernando [Torres] and Angel [Correa], of partnering Griezmann.

“My birthday wish? To win on Saturday.

“By the end of December, the team had grown. In 2017, we’ve had more consistency in our results.

“[The reverse fixture] was a good game, we worked and had everyone available.

“Now we have five players out and it’s more difficult to have a game like that.

“We’ll face a team that have also changed. If they have a quality, it’s to attack so we have to start strongly.

“Sevilla are very good, they’ve had an extraordinary season, but I’m not thinking about anything other than solving [Saturday’s] game.

“At this point in the season, your emotional state and what happens to you in your head is worth more than what you have in your legs.

“The other day, [Las Palmas] played lads who had got less minutes and not the players that gave Las Palmas’ best version of Las Palmas. They’ll be in a tough and difficult match [on Saturday].

“Touchline ban? I was worried because I’d been very respectful.

“I’d only asked the referee why he hadn’t let our move continue, and from then on everything seemed to get worse. Thank God I can be on the bench [this Saturday].

“It’s all very close: Athletic, Villarreal, us with Sevilla, Madrid with Barcelona. The competition is very beautiful.

“I’m not expecting anything less from Sevilla. They went out in the last 16 of the Champions League and Copa del Rey, are fresher and will arrive at the end of the season well.”

Las Palmas: Lizoain; Michel, Bigas, David Garcia, Dani Castellano; Vicente; Halilovic, Mesa, Viera, Jese; Boateng

Injuries/suspensions: Livaja (S) Boateng, Vicente, Viera (all doubtful)

Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Lucas, Savic, Gimenez, Lucas, Filipe Luis; Koke, Thomas, Gabi, Saul; Gameiro, Griezmann

Injuries/suspensions: Augusto (I) Carrasco (I) Godin (S) Juanfran (I) Vrsaljko (I)

Referee: De Burgos Bengoetxea

Form guide: Las Palmas (L D L W L) Atleti (L W W D W)

Previous meeting: Atleti 1-0 Las Palmas

Kick-off time: 17:30 BST/18:30 CET

Tags Diego Simeone