MADRID – Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone praised on Tuesday the organization and vision of the club’s upcoming rival, Valencia CF.
Atletico Madrid held a final training session earlier in the day to finish off the side’s preparation to host Valencia at Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on Wednesday.
“Valencia has assembled a squad that is able to fight for the top spots of the Spanish league,” Simeone said in the pre-game press conference, “It’s a reliable and well-organized team with clear ideas.”
The coach stated that he is not surprised to see Valencia’s recent positive results – the team has qualified for the UEFA Europa League semis and the Copa del Rey final.
“I think that what (Valencia) is doing in this final part of the season is what the club has (aimed to do) with the squad that it has,” he added.
However, he also turned to his own to team to talk up the abilities of Atletico’s Slovenia goalkeeper Jan Oblak and Spain winger Victor Machin, best known as Vitolo.
Simeone discussed Oblak’s contract extension with Atletico until 2023, supporting the decision of the Slovenian international keeper to stay with the Madrid-based team , saying: “it’s really an important decision. A choice similar to Griezmann’s last year.”
“He is possibly the best goalkeeper in the world and he has decided to stay with us. It’s a source of happiness for the club and the fans,” the coach explained.
In the next breath, the coach paid tribute to Vitolo, and the Spanish winger’s talent and vision of play, stressing that Vitolo shows his best foot forward when he is completely fit physically, adding: “In this recent times he is even more committed to wanting to improve in the training.”
Vitolo sustained three injuries, knee and muscular, throughout the season and has taken part in a total of 35 matches thus far, starting in just seven matches and scoring once and assisting on two other goals.
The winger played a total of 1,101 minutes so far this season, with only the substitute goalkeeper Antonio Adan and striker Alvaro Morata (who joined the team over the winter transfer window) having played less.
In related news, Athletico’s Montenegro central-back Stefan Savic has received medical approval to play after recovering from a muscle injury. Savic will be ready to play against Valencia, depending the coach’s decision.