Diego Simeone will rest the regulars again as Atlético Madrid meet Cornellà in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night.
“The team is competing well, and we must encourage internal competition in order to grow,” Simeone said Tuesday. “It is a great opportunity tomorrow for those who play less to showcase themselves, and then the coach will decide what is best for what lies ahead.”
Sergio Camello and Ricard Sánchez — who scored a debut golazo in this competition last month — are set to start Atlético’s first-ever meeting with Segunda B side Cornellà. Founded in 1950, the Catalans are playing its seventh consecutive season in Spain’s third tier. Coach Guillermo Romo’s team sits ninth in its 11-team Segunda B group.
“They have not competed for three weeks, they will be very excited to play,” Simeone said. “I read how they are preparing the game, the enthusiasm that comes with winning it...they have always managed (to play) an orderly 4-4-2 system, a characteristic that they show in every game and I can’t imagine a situation other than this (tomorrow).”
Though Simeone dodged a query about reports linking Atlético with a January move for Real Sociedad forward Willian José, he did confirm that Kieran Trippier has returned to training following the temporary lifting of his FA-imposed 10-week ban for “betting violations.”
“We are very happy with his return and I gave him a hug,” Simeone said. “From what the coaches told me, he trained very well, he is an important player and we are very happy that he is back.
“He won’t play tomorrow, but he will train.”
Wednesday night should also be another chance for Vitolo, who has appeared just once since an unimpressive 45 minutes against Real Valladolid on Dec. 3. He will receive minutes in a midfield that will also see Geoffrey Kondogbia and Lucas Torreira reenter the fray.
“(Vitolo) trains with the usual intensity, sometimes he has not been able to respond, other times he has been very good,” Simeone said. “Hopefully, in matches like tomorrow’s he can position himself to continue in the team.”
Date Jan. 6, 2020
Location Nou Municipal de Cornellà, Cornellà de Llobregat, Barcelona, Catalonia
Kickoff time 6:00 p.m. CET, 5:00 p.m. GMT, 12:00 p.m. EST, 9:00 a.m. PST
Available TV/streaming Cuatro (Spain), Premier Sports 1 (United Kingdom), ESPN+ (United States)