Atletico Madrid aim to match good derbi record - Diego Simeone
Diego Simeone said he hoped this season's Atletico Madrid team will be able to match their recent good record at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Saturday's derbi at Real Madrid.
Over the last three seasons Atletico have generally had the upper hand over Madrid in their La Liga battles, winning on their last two domestic visits to the Bernabeu -- with the now departed Diego Costa and Arda Turan scoring the winning goals on these occasions.
Simeone will now face his fourth Madrid coach in less than three years in opposite number Zinedine Zidane, while Costa and Turan are among the big name Atletico players to have left during recent transfer windows.
The Colchoneros coach told his pre-game news conference that he felt Los Blancos had more continuity in their squads and he hoped this year's Atletico team would match what their predecessors had achieved.
"I cannot judge [Zidane's work] because that is about Real Madrid," Simeone said. "We have achieved what we have done through continuity and the effort of the club and the players to achieve stability. Although in recent years our players have changed more than they have. James [Rodriguez] arrived, but Cristiano [Ronaldo], [Luka] Modric... they are a tough and difficult opponent. We will have to do important defensive work to hold their attack. We have our very defined way of playing and will not stray from that. We will try and take the game to a place where we feel most comfortable."
Atletico's current side have had four goalless draws in their last eight games in all competitions -- including last weekend's 0-0 in La Liga at home to Villarreal, and Wednesday's 0-0 draw at PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League. Simeone accepted that they were missing the directness of winger Yannick Carrasco, who is still sidelined with an ankle problem.
"The only way I know is to keep trying to create chances," he said. "That is the path. It's clear that goalscorers go through moments, sometimes they finish better than others. We hope to rediscover this part of our game soon. Carrasco was giving us a lot of verticality, one-on-ones, helping other players to reach the area. The most similar is [Angel] Correa, but he does not like to play wide so much. We will look for alternatives with what we have."
Ex-Real Madrid midfielder Guti, now a youth coach at the Bernabeu, has claimed that no current Atletico player would get into the Los Blancos XI, a topic which Simeone declined to get into.
"We have respect for Guti, and his opinion," the Argentine said. "He was a magnificent player and played a lot for Madrid, so he will know why he said this."