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Simeone not longing for Vitolo or Diego Costa after criticism of forwards

Omnisport
NEWS
142   //    27 Oct 2017, 19:59 IST
DiegoSimeone - cropped
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone

Diego Simeone insists he is not desperate to have Vitolo or Diego Costa available despite Atletico Madrid's forwards coming in for criticism this season.

Atletico sit fourth in LaLiga after nine matches and are one of only three sides yet to be beaten in the league, but that has not stopped them coming under scrutiny.

Their record of 14 goals scored is bettered by seven other teams, while their top-scorer – Angel Correa – has a rather underwhelming haul of three so far.

Antoine Griezmann is yet to rediscover his form from last term, while Fernando Torres has not scored in six league outings and Kevin Gameiro has struggled for fitness since the start of the season.

Atletico head into Saturday's home match against Villarreal having scored just three times in their last five games across all competitions, but Simeone is not worried about the absence of Vitolo and Costa, who are not eligible to play until Atleti's FIFA-imposed registration ban is lifted in January.

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He told reporters at his pre-match media conference: "The truth is that I'm not either waiting or thinking about Vitolo or [Diego] Costa, neither am I thinking about the winter transfer window. I live in the present. In football you always have to look at today.

"We have Villarreal next and I don't look anywhere else other than to boost and reinforce the confidence of the team for tomorrow [Saturday] and try to play a good match.

"It's normal that when you have great strikers and a great team like Atletico Madrid, if you miss your goal chances you will receive criticism, and critics pointing to our game or to the opportunities we missed.

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"As I said before, and I will keep saying, I totally believe in this team. We have important players, players that are growing like [Angel] Correa, Thomas [Partey] and Lucas [Hernandez].

"We are competing very well against important teams of LaLiga and playing away from home. Now we have to focus on our strengths, in what we believe and what we know that we can do right."

Simeone also revealed his delight at Atletico's midfield competition, saying they have a "healthy" number of options there at the moment.

The coach went the extra mile with his defence of Torres, and is adamant the experienced striker's attitude is as professional as ever.

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Simeone added: "I see that he [Torres] works with the same enthusiasm as always, with the same responsibility of helping the team and the group from his position.

"He has played almost every match, maybe twenty or ten minutes in each. He didn't play some of them like against [Celta] Vigo, but he has participated in a lot of matches.

"All of my players can be in the starting eleven, maybe some of them haven't had the playing consistency yet, but, for example, with Augusto [Fernandez] you could see he was pretty good the other day.

"What really matters to me is that they have continuity in the games, especially the midfielders. Augusto maintained that continuity.

"Of course there's also great competition for that position, as there's Thomas, Gabi, Saul, Koke, and I'm forgetting someone. Can somebody help me?

"Well, Saul, Koke and all the midfielders are competing really well and it's a healthy aspect."

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