Koke: "Griezmann gave his all for Atlético and we're very grateful but now he's a rival"

Atlético de Madrid's captain looked ahead to the Barça game. "We're playing against Barcelona, not against Griezmann and we're going to try to make our fans happy".

Koke atiende a la prensa.

Atlético welcome Barcelona to the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday night - it will be Antoine Griezmann's first encounter with his old team mates since his move to Camp Nou in July. While a lot of the pre-match talk will centre around the French forward, Atleti captain Koke insists that the match won't be about Griezmann versus his old club.

Atlético searching for consistency

It's a fair point that we haven't been very consistent - we've been worse in the first half of our matches and improved in the second half. Now we seem to be a bit more balanced. Juve hardly had a shot on goal in Turin the other day but we didn't manage to score. We're struggling to put the ball away, we have to be more clinical.

What kind of reception do you think Griezmann will get at the Metropolitano?

Antonie gave everything for us during five years and we are very grateful. Now he's a rival, we're playing against Barcelona, not against Griezmann and we are going to do everything we can to make sure our people go home happy.

Koke: "I block out the whistlers"

Does it hurt you when the fans whistle you?

The fans have their opinion and you have to respect that. Some people whistle, others applaud and that's their decision. I'll keep my thoughts to myself, we'll be focused on the game, not Griezmann.

Is this Barcelona side easier to beat than previous ones?

No way. They are one of the best teams in the world, they have the best player in the world and we will really need our fans to give us full support. It's up to us to make sure we start well - looking at the positives, we are at home and playing in front of our fans. It'll be difficult but we want the fans to enjoy it.

Atleti have only beaten Barcelona twice in the league over the past decade...

Every game is different. It's going to be tough and we have to enter the match strong. They will have more possession, and we have to match them in intensity.

What message would you give to the fans?

I think Atleti fans aklways have faith in the team and they always show their support - in the good times and the bad. That's how we are at Atleti. The atmosphere's going to be amazing and our people will be 200% nehind us.