ATLÉTICO | DIEGO SIMEONE
Simeone: "We can't compete with Barça and Madrid"
Atlético coach says fans should not expect repeat of last year's Liga success: "We are a different team. The objective is third place."
Atlético Madrid manager Diego Simeone on has emphasized that despite winning the Liga title last season, his team is unlikely to repeat the feat in the 2014-15 campaign. “I don’t like to lie to people and one thing is clear: we can’t compete with Madrid and Barcelona. Our direct rivals are Sevilla, Valencia and Athletic; the objective is third place. We are a new team…” the Argentinean saisd in an interview Thursday with La Gazzetta.
New team: “We are putting the finishing touches on forming a squad; the team has changed, above all in attack. I see it as starting from scratch because the team is different. Mandzukic, Jiménez and Griezmann are different players than Costa, Villa and Adrián. We have held on to the solid base on which the team is built, but we are looking for the style that best fits what we have. We have to be patient.”
Champions: “Atlético are the champions, but the players are not the same. We are in a different league to Barcelona and Madrid.”
Despite spending over 100 million euros?: “Yes, because the money spent on new players is a direct result of other players being sold.”
Madrid and Barcelona have also changed: “Nothing has changed.”
Barcelona has a number 9, Luis Suárez, when before they didn’t: “One change.”
Development: “I arrived at Atleti at Christmas 2011 and in the second half of the season we brought in Diego Costa; one player. In the second season, against just one new signing: David Villa. This year we have made four changes. We do not have a [financial] structure that permits us to spend 80 million on one player; we’ve spent almost 100 million on everybody. Messi, Neymar and Suárez are three of the five best players in the world, and Real Madrid have brought in James and Toni Kroos. Bale is much stronger now. They have made improvements over last year. It’s understandable people want to repeat the success of last season but it has to be remembered that we hand’t won a league title in 18 years.It’s not something that’s there be won every year.”
Athletic-Napoli: “San Mamés will be tough. The power of the crowd and the new stadium are factors to take into consideration. Are Napoli favourites? Not at all, quite the opposite.La Liga is at a very high level, superior to that of Serie A. Athletic finished with 70 points last season, which isn’t easy.”
Seria A: “In terms of courage and ideas, a lot about my Atleti comes from Italy. La Liga is still above Seria A, because of the stars in attracts and because the young players play more here.”