Diego Pablo Simeone faced the media this afternoon to look ahead to tomorrow night's meeting with Espanyol. The coach also spoke about Antoine Griezmann's situation and the club's decision to report Barcelona to FIFA for tapping up.
What are your thoughts on Guillermo Amor's comments about making contact with Griezmann and Atlético reporting Barcelona to FIFA?
The club has to defend itself in the manner it believes is best, looking for what is best for the institution. Right now we're thinking about tomorrow's game.
How would you rate Atleti's year?
We're still only halfway through this season so I'm not able to review 2017 as things can easily change. All of the good things can suddenly go bad and vice versa. We've got a long way to go yet. We take each day as it comes, and look to meet our objectives. Every week we are working hard to try to improve. For us, we are at the halfway point of the season, anything can happen from now until the end of the season. What counts is reaching our objective at the end.
What are you expecting from the team once Costa and Vitolo are fully on board?
Until they are definitively with us and able to play, I'd rather concentrate on the players I have available to me right now. Tomorrow we will be facing a very tough rival at a difficult ground, and up against a highly intelligent coach who knows Atlético inside out. He's hurting for what his team is going through but he has very good players.
Do you think Griezmann is partly to blame for the whole Barça affair for the commenst he's made?
I'm very happy with Griezmann.
Have you spoken about the matter with him? Do you think it could affect his performances?
I am only concerned with what I see and I see Griezmann totally committed. He made a huge effort the other day so that he could play against Alavés, even though he wasn't 100 per cent fit. He looks fine to me with his team mates. He's committed to the team. I'm very pleased with what I see - I have complete faith in Griezmann.
Do you see Atleti as title contenders?
It's way too early to start talking about winning the league. The lads want to win something but things can change. We've won two games and it seems we can win the league but being realistic is the only thing that counts at this moment in time.
What challenges have you set yourself for 2018?
I still have the same challenges - the most complex ones. When I decided to renew my contract I understood what lies ahead and the responsibility we have is to continue growing as a team. I'm happy - I'm full of hope and energy. I'm eager to see us continue with our improvement. I know that we can improve and reach a higher level in terms of concentration and intensity. We'll keep working on our development.
Are you worried that the fans might whistle Griezmann?
The fans want Griezmann to score goals. When he scores an overhead kick, he's our best player. Vietto doesn't score goals, he doesn't speak to anyone and yet he gets criticized. Gameiro only scores a few goals and he gets criticized too. Torres doesn't score many goals but he's a club idol. People are swayed by sentiments and that's just the way it is.