Diego Simeone has highlighted the depth of talent in his squad and the club’s rotation policy as being fundamental to success this season.
Despite not being able to register any new signings until January – Vitolo will arrive from Las Palmas and Diego Costa may yet follow him – Atleti still have a competitive first-team squad which is able to rotate.
“The level of competition within the squad has increased,” Simeone told his press conference ahead of Wednesday's trip to Athletic Bilbao.
“We have rotated well and players have increased their level – Lucas, Thomas, Gaitan, Vietto…
“Each game presents its own challenges and certain players best suit our needs for those requirements, which is why rotation has been so important to us.
“Athletic? They always work hard, especially at home and will be another very difficult match.
“They haven’t settled on a definitive starting line-up for the past two matches but we expect Raul Garcia and Inaki Williams will be especially dangerous players.
“They have a very strong defensive record and form suggests this will be another tight game.”