Atletico coach Simeone optimistic for next season

Madrid, June 9 (IANS) Atletico Madrid may have failed to defend their La Liga title but coach Diego Simeone is still pleased with his side’s performance in the just-concluded football season.

Atletico finished third behind FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in the La Liga and reached the last eight stage in the Champions League, before losing to their city rivals Real Madrid. Atletico were the runners-up of the 2014 Champions League, reports Xinhua.

“It was a very positive season,” Simeone said on Tuesday.

“We won the Spanish Super Cup, which was very positive and finishing third allows us to continue to grow as a side and to return to the Champions League,” he said.

However, the ambitious Argentine coach was already looking ahead to the coming campaign.

“We are not going to have many changes because the players who do come will be those who can compete and they will cover weak points in the side, but overall we will maintain the basis of the side,” he said.

Someone also pointed out that last season Atletico lost key players such as Diego Costa, Thibaut Courtois and Felipe Luis to English club Chelsea, before adding that although there would not be many new faces, the side did need a change, to take the team forward.

“We are in an important situation and the team needs a new stimulus. It is not easy for a coach to be so long with the same players and it’s not easy for the players to be with a coach for so long. So we need a change, some movement to the side can take a step forward,” he said.

Simeone suggested the change could be repositioning Spanish international Koke in a midfield-holding role.

“This year will be different and we are not going to lose five first choice players, we are going to be able to build on what we did well last year,” he insisted.

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