The penultimate game of the Champions League group stage. Atletico host PSV in a match that could be definitive in figuring out who will finish top of Group D. A victory would be enough to ensure the Colchoneros would not need a win at the Allianz Arena, but a victory for the Germans would mean we head into the last game with everything hanging in the balance. Atletico’s goal is to reverse the bad feeling that still linger after the derby defeat.
On the other hand, the Dutch team will try to gain a valuable point that would allow them to gain advantage over Rostov in the fight for third place in the group and thus access to the Europa League. Philip Cocu will have to contend with the absences of Andrés Guardado and Jürgen Locadia. The Mexican is one of the sides best players, and the majority of play goes through his boots, while the striker was one of the biggest threats when Atletico visited Eindhoven.
Quotes from Press Conference
In a week when the debate about the style of play appeared again and again, the manager couldn’t avoid being asked about how his team play. “For the five years, we play to win. With the ‘weapons’ we have, we just care about winning. Everything else is part of the play, the polemic and situations. When a team wins people will say good things and vice versa. I’m getting paid to make my team get victories and that’s what I care about,” Cholo said.
As usual in Champions League a player accompanies Simeone for the press conference, and this time it was of one of the captains turns: Diego Godín. The Uruguayan spoke about a possible crisis in the team: “We got two defeats, but are thinking of PSV. It’s true that there are things we have to improve, we are very self-critical, but we have to be balanced. The squad is quiet with a confidence message that we want to show. This is the same group as last month; we know our strengths and aspects that we need to improve. The only goal we have in our minds is to win tomorrow.”
Josema Giménez confirmed as starter
The boss clarified that Jose Gimenez will start on Wednesday night, denying at the same time that the Uruguayan youngster is currently his fourth choice central defender. Josema displayed a great performance in Eindhoven despite conceding a penalty which Oblak would save. Simeone expects PSV to defend very deeply which would cause his defensive line to play further from their own area. This could be the reason why the coach would opt for the speed and willingness to tackle of Gimenez.
In addition, Nico Gaitán, Sime Vrsaljko and Kevin Gameiro could accompany Josema as new faces in the starting eleven. That is what Mundo Deportivo reports from the last training session the team had. Meanwhile Juanfran, Saúl Ñíguez and Torres would be the players left out. Maybe Cholo saw some bad things from them in the Derbi or maybe it could be part of a rotation system the manager has conceived for this stage of the season. Thus, the Croatian full back would provide crosses from the right wing, Nico would help Koke in the build-up and Gameiro would provide dribbling an ability to hold up the ball and get his teammates involved in PSV’s penalty area.
Possible XI: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Giménez, Godín, Filipe Luis; Gaitán, Gabi, Koke, Carrasco; Griezmann, Gameiro.
Simeone’s squad: Moyá, Oblak, Godín, Filipe, Savic, Vrsaljko, Lucas, Juanfran, Giménez, Tiago, Koke, Saúl, Carrasco, Gabi, Thomas, Gaitán, Griezmann, Fernando Torres, Correa and Gameiro.