Atlético Madrid host relegation-threatened Cádiz in Friday night action, and the Colchoneros will try for their first four-game winning streak this season.
“It’s true, the team spirit has improved,” Simeone said on Thursday. “We are more intense and combative, (playing with) more speed. We have to keep improving like that.”
With a visit to Manchester United looming, fourth-place Atlético (14-6-7, 48 points) want nothing more than a stress-free evening in the capital against 18th-place Cádiz (4-12-11, 24 points). But Diego Simeone discovered Wednesday that he will be without creative force Thomas Lemar for this game, as a new muscle injury will likely sideline the Frenchman through the next international break.
While Cholo is expected to welcome Koke and Stefan Savić back into the fold, the boss will play it safe with Ángel Correa after he suffered a foot contusion in Sunday’s victory at Real Betis. Other injured Rojiblancos include Matheus Cunha, Mario Hermoso, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Šime Vrsaljko, and Daniel Wass. There is optimism that Kondogbia and Wass will join the team for the trip to Manchester next Tuesday.
“(Talking about the injuries) is very delicate,” Simeone said. “Not all actions are the same. There are fouls committed without the intent to hurt another player, and the referee does not interpret it as a foul deserving a booking...We are here to solve situations in which the team finds itself, and the only thing that matters is to get to the game against Cádiz in the best possible way.”
Cádiz have shown modest improvement under new coach Sergio González and have kept three clean sheets from the past four games. Last weekend’s win against Rayo Vallecano was the yellow submarine’s first since Jan. 22. But Cádiz have lost all three meetings with Atlético since returning to LaLiga, conceding four times in each defeat.
“It’s a challenging game, like all games in LaLiga. Our opponent has a serious need to get out of where they are (in the table), and we need to maintain the position we achieved last week,” Simeone said. “Cádiz is working differently, we know their coach and it will be a tough, complex game.”
Date March 11, 2022
Location Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid
Kickoff time 9:00 p.m. CET, 8:00 p.m. GMT, 3:00 p.m. EST, 12:00 p.m. PST