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ATLÉTICO

Atlético Madrid: "You don't win with names" – Simeone

Atlético Madrid have excited fans with their shrewd new signings and pre-season displays but coach Diego Simeone is not getting too carried away.

You don't win with names – Simeone waits for results from new-look Atletico Madrid

Diego Simeone insists his expensively assembled squad must perform the pitch to earn comparisons with the great Atlético Madrid sides of the past. Atlético have undergone a significant transformation since finishing 11 points behind LaLiga champions Barcelona last season.

João Félix with the Atlético squad in the United States for the pre-season

All change at Atleti

Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godín, Filipe Luis, Lucas Hernández and midfielder Rodri, Manchester City's new record signing, have all left the Wanda Metropolitano. Among the replacements are Marcos Llorente, Kieran Trippier, Mario Hermoso and João Félix, who became the fourth most expensive signing in history when he arrived from Benfica for €126million.

The level of investment, which has brought eight new additions in total, has prompted conjecture about whether the squad could be the strongest assembled under Simeone. "It's not fair to talk about a team that is yet to start competing," Simeone said. "We think about now, which is to improve in training, in matches, for each player to fulfil his function. When the season ends we will be able to say if this is the best squad or not. You don't win with names. You win with performance and with players who interpret what the team needs."

Atlético's Héctor Herrera keeps Alejandro Pozuelo off the ball in last week's MLS All-Star Game

Herrera raring to go

Another close-season signing, Hector Herrera, is back in his homeland of Mexico for Saturday's friendly against Atlético de San Luis. The former Porto midfielder is "very excited" by the occasion but the thought of a league debut against Getafe on 18 August is providing the real motivation. "I never imagined playing in LaLiga," Herrera said. "It was always a dream to be able to reach LaLiga, which is the best league in the world. You have to look for big challenges and [in LaLiga] you are competing with the best."