Diego Simeone spoke to the press ahead of his side’s away game at Alavés on Sunday.
Uefa have opened an investigation after your sending off…
I feel bad about that, I’m not particularly impressed with myself over the sending-off. These things can happen in the heat of the moment but I have to improve in that aspect and at the end of the day if you get sent off you can’t make excuses for it.
Is Diego Costa fit to play?
We are going up there to try and win the game and to try and finish as high up the table as possible. We’ll take those players that are in best shape with us. Giménez won’t travel, neither will Griezmann or Saúl, or Oblak, who has a small problem in his calf. We’ll take everybody else to try and achieve our goal of finishing as high up the table as possible. I spoke to Costa to see how he feels. On Thursday Fernando looked better up front. The game is tomorrow and we’ll see where we stand then.
The Metropolitano will be full next Thursday for Arsenal…
We’re only thinking about Alavés at the moment. We know how important Thursday is and how much everybody wants it but we have a tricky game against Alavés. Changing their coach has allowed them to stay in Primera with plenty to spare. We want to finish as strongly as possible in the league. Then we’ll think about the Europa League, a game which is conditioned by what happened in London.
Simeone: "Abelardo always gets his sides to compete well"
How do you motivate your players for Alavés when you have Arsenal next Thursday?
By putting across what we want from them. We have put in a lot of effort this season and want to end in the best way we can.
What do you expect from Alavés?
They have been playing very well. From midfield and in the forward line they have pace, Guidetti holds the ball up well to play in the quick players on the wings. They are good from set pieces. Abelardo is a coach who always gets his sides to compete well. We’ll look for ways to continue being competitive ourselves in the league.
You’re 48 now and have been at Atlético for many years as a coach and player. What does the club mean to you?
I haven’t got the capacity to express how I feel. Words aren’t always enough to put across what something means to someone. When I was playing the thing I liked most was when we played away and people would say: ‘There goes Simeone, the Atleti player.’ I wasn’t born in the club but I give everything to try and make sure it keeps growing.