Atlético Madrid are readying to take on Celta Vigo at Balaídos hoping they can turn around a run of poor form. They have not won in four games and drew with Qarabag in the Champions League on Wednesday, but Diego Simeone praised his team’s mental strength ahead of the Sunday afternoon kickoff.
“[We] will continue to compete like we have for the last six years,” the Argentine said.
However, Simeone will have to make do without a key midfield piece, as Koke will miss a second consecutive game with muscular problems. Koke was missed against Qarabag and many suggest that Augusto could be the solution to Atlético’s woes — and it seems he is finally ready to play. Yannick Carrasco is also out with a minor knee issue, leaving Simeone in a bit of a scramble as he cobbles together an XI capable of troubling Celta’s relatively porous defense.
“Koke's still got a few twinges and he'll be rested,” Simeone said “Augusto is improving and he has a chance of playing tomorrow. We need him. He has quality to his game, enthusiasm, determination, ambition...we'll need those qualities in midfield. He's ready to play and prepared to fight".
El Cholo also addressed the pessimism surrounding the squad and reminded the gathered media that Atlético lost to Levante and Almería in 2013/14 — the same year they won LaLiga and nearly won the Champions League.
Celta requested to have the game cancelled due to safety concerns regarding Balaídos’ Rio stand, which will be closed for the game. When LaLiga rejected that request, the Galicians asked that the game to be switched to the Wanda Metropolitano — which Atlético rejected. Celta owner Carlos Mouriño has apologised for something that is out of their hands and asked the fans to make twice as much noise on Sunday for those missing out.