"Diego Costa is staying with us" insists Caminero
With the South American tour at an end, Atlético’s Director of Sport José Luis Caminero assesses the pre-season so far.
What’s your overall assessment of the South American tour?
We’re returning home feeling very happy with how it turned out. It has served to ease the players back into work and helped them to regain match fitness. We’ve played against some decent sides and it’s been a good experience for us. Our plan is to be in peak condition for when the league gets back underway on the 18th August.
How are Demichelis and Léo settling in?
Both of them have adapted quickly. They seem happy and have worked hard. Demichelis got a few run-outs and that’s positive for him. Both players will help to boost competition for places within the squad and that will be beneficial for the team.
The fans are concerned about the goalkeeper’s position and feel that [Yassine Bounou] ‘Bono’ isn’t ready yet to make the leap to playing in the Liga BBVA...
You need to watch him in training and look at what he has done in the B team’s games. He’s a keeper with many qualities and he has earned his place as the first team’s deputy goalkeeper.
And there was a lot of interest about David Villa during the tour...
That’s understandable. He’s still in the process of adapting. He requires a different method of preparation to the rest of his team mates. When we return to the training ground, he will be incorporated into the squad.
Living up to Falcao won’t be easy for him though?
He is the ideal companion for Adrián or Diego Costa. There’s nothing new to discover about David Villa, everyone knows what he is capable of. I’m sure his goals will put Atlético amongst the top teams in the table. He is fired up and raring to go.
It’s surprising that after the great season Atleti enjoyed, not one Rojiblanco player figured at the 2013 Confederations Cup?
Spain’s national team has a great coach and he handles these things really well. He’s knows which players he needs, I doff my hat to him for the what he has done with the national team right from Day One.
There is concern that Diego Costa could leave...
Diego Costa is a very important player for Atlético, we value what he brings to the team and we are convinced that he is going to improve his goal scoring figures this season. He’s a reference for the team and for the fans.
But is he going to continue?
Yes, he will continue with us.
Some sections of the fans are worried that Atlético haven’t made sufficient reinforcements this summer...
The squad will comprise 22 or 23 players. The fact that the team works as a unit is our strong point. This season, we have drafted in players like Óliver [Torres] and [Javier] Manquillo from the reserves, we’ve signed [José María] Giménez and we’ll be signing another player to strengthen the defence. We’ve made an effort to sign young players, while maintaining the base of last season’s team.