Simeone: Atletico will not change aggressive style

The Argentine insists that the Spanish champions have no intention of playing with any less intensity – despite recent criticism

Diego Simeone says Atletico Madrid will not change their aggressive style of play as they prepare for Saturday’s derby against Liga leaders Real Madrid.

The reigning Spanish champions have often been criticised for their physical approach – most recently after being reduced to nine men during their Copa del Rey quarter-final second-leg loss to Barcelona – but Simeone has made it clear they will stay true to their footballing philosophy.

“We don’t know how to play differently. We are an intense team and we will not change our style,” the Rojiblancos boss said at a press conference on Friday.

“Every team has its own style of play and you can win things in different manners. When I got here, one of the goals was to restore Atletico’s image of being a strong and intense team, like it has always been.”

Simeone then went on to stress that Atletico will not be underestimating the threat posed by Real, even though Carlo Ancelotti will have to make do without injured duo Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez for the trip to the Vicente Calderon.

“We know that Real Madrid are a great team, with some excellent players and a superb coach,” the former midfield enforcer added.

“We are not thinking about the players they will be missing, but how we can get a positive result. We are not thinking about the consequences of this game for the table at the end of the season. We just want to win the game.”

Fernando Torres impressed in Atletico’s Copa del Rey win over Madrid earlier this year, netting twice in a 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu, but Simeone has revealed that the former Liverpool and Chelsea man will not start on Saturday.

“Nando will be on the bench,” the coach confirmed. “Mario Mandzukic and Antoine Griezmann will lead the line for us.”

France international Griezmann has netted 11 times in 21 La Liga appearances so far this term for Atleti, while his Croatian colleague has scored 10 goals to date.

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