Madrid, March 2 (IANS) Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone on Saturday said that his team was relying on its own efforts to keep fighting for the La Liga title, regardless of the result of the Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
After 25 matches in the top Spanish league so far, Atletico Madrid holds the standings’ second spot with 50 points, seven behind leader Barcelona, and just two points ahead of Real Madrid, as the latter is set to host the Catalan team later in the day, reports Efe news.
“We have to think about ourselves,” Simeone said on the eve of his side’s away match against Real Sociedad.
“Basically, we always depend on ourselves, whatever happens, so that we can remain competing in La Liga.”
The Argentine coach said it was up to the team to live up to fan expectations.
Simeone said he was aware that Sunday’s game against the San Sebastian-based club would not be a walk in the park.
“Real Sociedad is a good team. They play well and work well as a team, especially in big games,” Simeone said.
Atletico suffered two defeats in its most recent visits to Sociedad’s home ground, the Anoeta, losing 3-0 in April 2018 and 2-0 in November 2016.
“They have some very strong offensive players and the coach (Imanol Alguacil Barrenetxea) already did things very well,” he added. “The coach’s traits are good for the players that Real Sociedad has.”
“We will try to take the game in the direction we want it to go,” Simeone expressed.
In related news, the Atletico coach confirmed that his strikers Diego Costa of Spain and Nikola Kalinic of Croatia are to be sidelined against Sociedad over a thigh and lower back injuries, respectively.
“We hope to have Costa and Niko with the group again by next week,” Simeone said. “We have to solve such situations that appear within the team and to boost the players we have available for tomorrow.”
Earlier in the day, the Atletico squad went through its last training session before the Sociedad clash, in which the new-comer, Argentine defender Nehuen Perez, took part.
Sociedad sit in 8th place in the Spanish league.