Atlético Madrid have not played a league game away from home since Oct. 31, and the shorthanded colchoneros will be in the southeast of Spain on Saturday afternoon to play Valencia.
“It’s the current schedule, everything is tight and we can’t control it,” Diego Simeone said Friday. “We would have to have a squad of 35 (to deal with injuries and illness). You can’t think about what’s going to happen and you have to figure out each game based on the opponent and the five substitutions.”
Simeone is giving no clues as to what his starting XI will be on Saturday. He’ll have to get creative with the team playing its third game in seven days. Luis Suárez and Lucas Torreira are still out after contracting coronavirus, while Héctor Herrera and Šime Vrsaljko are still recovering from injuries. Diego Costa is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after he was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis. DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein — in Costa’s case, one in the leg — and it could be linked to the 32-year-old’s own bout with COVID-19 in September.
“Suárez is in the process of recovery, he will surely be with us soon,” Simeone said. “The doctor will explain Diego’s situation. Costa is very important to us both in the dressing room and on the field, we need him.”
Atlético are unbeaten in 24 league games and are hoping Valencia will be the respite for a complicated week, which started with such a bang against Barcelona. Simeone’s Atleti have not lost to Valencia in over six years. Javi Gracia will be without injured captain José Gayà, another blow for a coach whose job is one of Spain’s toughest. Los Che’s only win since October began is a 4-1 drubbing of Real Madrid.
“They have a very good coach, and young players in the squad,” Simeone said. “That takes time to get an idea (of play) across. In recent games they have improved and have a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of energy, a lot of speed. (It is) a team that from midfield forward generates a lot of danger.“
Simeone may turn to one of Gracia’s former players to combat the likes of Yunus Musah and Carlos Soler. Geoffrey Kondogbia could be in line to start his first game for Atlético after two substitute appearances following his move from Mestalla.
Ángel Correa has three goals in his past four appearances versus Valencia. Yannick Carrasco has two goals against Saturday’s hosts, both scored during the 2015/16 season.
Date Nov. 28, 2020
Location Mestalla, Valencia
Kickoff time 4:15 p.m. CET, 3:15 p.m. GMT, 1:15 p.m. EST, 10:15 a.m. PST
Available TV/streaming Movistar LaLiga 1 (Spain), LaLiga TV (United Kingdom), beIN Sports (United States)
What’s your prediction?
This poll is closed