HomeChampions LeagueSimeone dismisses Atletico Madrid exit speculation

Simeone dismisses Atletico Madrid exit speculation

Soccer Football – Champions League – Atletico Madrid Press Conference – Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain – October 11, 2022 Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone during the press conference REUTERS/Juan Medina

MADRID (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone dismissed talk of his potential exit from the club ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League match against Club Brugge after two consecutive losses in the competition.

The Spanish side are last in Group B on three points, six behind the Belgians who are top.

Another loss would intensify the pressure on the Argentinian manager amid growing speculation among fans and local media about his future after a decade in charge.

“I’m not going anywhere, I’m here,” Simeone, who has won two LaLiga titles and reached two Champions League finals as Atletico manager, told a news conference in Madrid on Tuesday.

“I feel I have the same security as always. I was asked the other day if I saw myself somewhere else and my answer was no, absolutely.

“If I imagine that, it is because I am leaving, and I am not leaving, I am here.

“I hope to convey what I feel and that’s why I’ve been at this club for so many years.”

Atletico suffered another disappointing Champions League exit last season when they were knocked out by Manchester City in the last eight and failed to reach the semis for the fifth straight campaign.

Simeone’s use of star forward Joao Felix, who has failed to score this season, has also sparked criticism of the manager, who took full responsibility.

“Everything bad that Joao Felix does, I do it worse because it’s me who is not giving him what he needs to reach his potential,” Simeone said.

“He hasn’t changed at all, his team mates who compete with him are better and the coach understands that.

“Joao is important for the club and for the team. In this campaign he has not found the most important thing for him, the goal, and that causes him frustration.”

Level on three points with Porto and Bayer Leverkusen, Simeone said he does not think of Wednesday’s game in Madrid against Brugge as “like a final”, but it is a match that Atletico cannot afford to lose.

“We know the importance of this game. We need to do well, for that we need to give our best and we need our fans to show up,” Simeone said.

“We expected more from the first part of the season, but you always expect that.

“I see the players with great enthusiasm to improve. This is the way.”

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Toby Davis)