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Sources: Barca optimistic over De Ligt signing

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By ESPN Staff

Change of coach boosts Kezman

MADRID, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid striker Mateja Kezman says the sacking of Carlos Bianchi and appointment of Pepe Murcia as coach last week has been a great boost to his confidence.

'Bianchi always substituted me and my confidence was low,' the Serbia & Montenegro striker told sports daily Marca on Friday.

'I need time on the pitch and to play whole games. Because of my fitness levels I am the type of player who scores goals near the end of games.

'Murcia talks to us more and works a lot more on tactics. He is right on top of us all the time trying to get us to believe in ourselves again.'

Kezman, who has scored six goals in the league and cup for Atletico since joining from Chelsea last June, made a lightning return to fitness following knee surgery in December.

He played the full 90 minutes in Wednesday's King's Cup game against Real Zaragoza and scored in a 2-2 draw, although Atletico lost the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

Atletico have the chance for quick revenge in the Primera Liga on Saturday when the two meet in La Romareda and Kezman is confident the club can turn round their season.

'We can still dream of making it into Europe because there is not much difference between the sides in the league,' Kezman added.

'If we can get a bit of a run going we will soon be back up near the top again.'

Atletico, who have not won in 10 league outings, are 14th in the table three points above the relegation places.