Diego Simeone has called on his Atletico Madrid players to improve last season’s performances in La Liga following the return of Antoine Griezmann from Barcelona.
Atletico propelled Real Madrid and Barca to the title last year on a dramatic final day, in their first league league win since 2014.
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The club have since strengthened in the transfer market this summer, signing Griezmann on loan from Barca on deadline day – two years after moving € 120m from Wanda Metropolitano to Camp Nou – as well as the midfielder Rodrigo de Paul from Udinese. and Brazilian striker Matheus Cunha from Hertha Berlin.
“We hope to improve what we did last season,” Simeone said at a press conference ahead of Atletico’s La Liga game at Espanyol on Sunday. “We didn’t have a good Copa del Rey. We played well in the Champions League but we would have liked to do a lot better. This year we have the Spanish Super Cup in January.
“These are four important competitions, including the league, and we want to improve last season’s numbers as we always seek to do.”
Atletico won La Liga with 86 points last season, two ahead of local rivals Real Madrid and seven ahead of Barcelona.
They were eliminated by Chelsea in the round of 16 of the Champions League and beaten by minnows Cornella in the second round of the Copa del Rey.
Simeone said he understood why fans were angered by Griezmann’s controversial departure for Barca in 2019, but expected them to support the France international on his return.
The 30-year-old – who is Atletico’s fifth all-time top scorer after his first five years at the club – has signed up for a first-year loan, with an optional second, and the Atletico are obliged to make the deal permanent. whether a set of performance targets are met.
“Griezmann was really looking forward to coming back to Atletico Madrid, he is excited to come back to the squad,” Simeone said. “I think Atletico Madrid fans will expect from Griezmann what they expect from us every day, the fans are very demanding and it is only fitting that they demand of Griezmann the same that they demand of us. “
Simeone has denied that a team now filled with attacking talent – Griezmann joining Luis Suarez, Joao Felix, Angel Correa, Thomas Lemar and Cunha – are the best he has ever coached.
“When you talk about a good or a bad team, you can answer at the end [of the season]”He said.” At first it’s easy to talk about names, but the reality is not the names, it’s the players and what they deliver …
” At the river [Plate, where Simeone coached in 2007-08] I had Sebastian Abreu, Radamel Falcao, Alexis Sanchez … all very good strikers at the same time, when we won the championship. “