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Simeone: "Let's hope we can make Griezmann see that this club will continue to grow"

Atlético Madrid's coach said about Griezmann's future: "He will be swayed one way or the other when he makes his final decision; we have to make him choose to stay".

Simeone en rueda de prensa.

Diego Pablo Simeone took questions from the media on Wednesday afternoon as his team gear up for their Week 33 meeting with Real Sociedad at Anoeta.

Are you worried that once the four Champions League qualifying places have been determined, your team will lose ambition?

Characteristically, we are side which draws inspiration from pulling on the Atleti shirt. Our objective is to improve ourselves. We have the possibility to, if we win tomorrow, get closer to Barcelona. The distance between us is huge, but football is a wonderful thing - anything can happen.

Fernando Torres in today's training session
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Fernando Torres in today's training sessionRodrigo JiménezEFE

Making LaLiga competitive

For football fans, how do you think LaLiga can be made a more competitive league?

This seasons has been slightly different to others in that the teams beneath the leaders are quite far behind but generally, clubs are becoming more competitive. Obviously Real Madrid and Barcelona are way ahead of everyone else. The teams involved in Cup competition have balanced sides. I think it's one of the more competitive leagues but it's true that this season, one team has pulled away and built up a big advantage earlier than usual in the campaign.

In the left-back position tomorrow, you have Vrsaljko, Saúl or Sergi. Which one will play?

Any one of the three could play. Saúl is always an alternative in that position even though it's not his natural role as he gives us options going forward. I remember him playing at left-back at the Calderón last season and he did well. We'll take a good look at all three of them in training before making our decision.

Fernando Torres said earlier this week that he thinks people have an ulterior motive when they ask him about his relationship with you...

Fernando was very clear in everything he said. He was straight to the point and me adding to what he said would only create confusion. As far as expressing his feelings goes, he is one of the best.

Griezmann, a hug for Cholo.
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Griezmann, a hug for Cholo.Fernando AlvaradoEFE

Griezmann improving as the season wears on

Griezmann gave you a hug as he went off in the last game. How did you interprete that gesture?

It's been an up and down season for him. Before Christmas he couldn't find the kind of consistency he has enjoyed since the New Year started. His figures speak for themselves. No one sees him as the team's main scorer and as an out and out striker. I think he felt liberated after Costa was able to start playing and that helped the team too. We lacked consistency to our game in the first half of the season. But later, we managed to improve our playing and start getting results which is just what he needed.

But what do you think the hug meant?

It was a spontaneous gesture for how the game had gone and how he felt. We want the best for Griezmann. We have to make him see that this team will continue growing - that these are not empty words, it's real - let's hope we can convince him. If we continue battling with Barcelona right to the end and reach the Europa League final, we will be able to see that we are doing something positive every season. We will have to do everything in our power to ensure that, when he makes his decision, he is swayed to stay with us.

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