Atlético Madrid travel to Mestalla to play Valencia on Sunday, and LaLiga’s defending champions should be inspired to enter the November international break on a high following the midweek bludgeoning at Liverpool.
“It will be a long game, with a lot of work and a lot of effort from both sides,” Diego Simeone said Saturday. “I imagine a strong start from Valencia. We played with one less player for almost 60 minutes the other day...they will look for ways to tire us during the game.”
The good news on this front for Simeone is that Atlético (6-4-1, 22 points) will welcome back three players who were unavailable for Wednesday night’s Anfield humbling. Geoffrey Kondogbia, Antoine Griezmann, and Stefan Savić have all been named to Sunday’s squad — with the latter two likely to start.
“In Liverpool, in the second half, the team was able to defend itself with 10 players (following Felipe’s red card), and we had the opportunity from Héctor Herrera,” Simeone said about taking positives from the 2-0 defeat. That collective effort and work in the face of difficulty will make us grow.”
If Simeone’s men triumph against Valencia (4-4-4, 16 points), they are guaranteed to enter the November break no lower than fourth — after which, Thomas Lemar and Marcos Llorente are expected to return from injury.
A José Bordalás side has never scored a goal against Simeone’s Atlético, and Cholo’s crew has not lost to Valencia in 13 tries. The champs won both games against this opponent last year, and all-time, Atleti have won 22 of their 82 league meetings with los Che at their 98-year-old Mestalla stadium.
“We are facing a Valencia team that will play very similarly as they did in the (2-0 win) against Villarreal, very competitive,” Simeone said. “We already know the coach (well), who he is. He generates an intensity in his players, with very good game management. And with the good players he has, Valencia are beginning to achieve the consistency they’re looking for.”
Date Nov. 7, 2021
Location Mestalla, Valencia
Kickoff time 4:15 p.m. CET, 3:15 p.m. GMT, 11:15 a.m. EST, 8:15 a.m. PST