Griezmann and co won’t leave Atletico in January – Simeone

Date published: Wednesday 6th December 2017 11:05 - James Marshment

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is confident his star players will not look to leave the club following their Champions League elimination.

Atleti, twice finalists in recent years, were dumped out of the competition at the group stages and dumped into the Europa League after finishing third behind winners Roma and runners-up Chelsea.

The likes of Antoine Griezmann, Saul Niguez and Koke have all been linked with big-money moves to the Premier League with Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City regularly linked to the trio, while Barcelona also have more than a passing interest in their star men.

However, Simeone insists their exit from the Champions League will have no bearing on his star players’ futures.

Asked if he was worried about players wanting to leave in January or the summer, Simeone said: “No, on the contrary, I think this could be a new challenge. Everything that is bad, we make it into a positive.

“I wouldn’t say it was a failure, because we knew this could happen. I think a failure is when you have an objective and you don’t reach it, and we knew this could happen, so it is not a failure for us.

“I think the team has shown that we never give up, and we have a long season ahead, we will see what happens at the end of the season.”

Atletico now have the chance to win the Europa League – a competition they last won in 2010 when they beat Fulham in the final – and Simeone says he is focusing all their efforts into the rest of their season.

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“It doesn’t hurt, because this is football. We’ve managed to get more points from the team which finished top of the group than the team which finished bottom.

“It is difficult to explain, but from now on we are just going to concentrate on what is coming, whether it be the Europa League, Copa del Rey or La Liga.

“Football is like this, it doesn’t depend on tactics, possession and stats, at the end of the day what is important is to be decisive, and you need to score.

“But in my opinion the team is well, we have only lost one game and it was in the last minute, but no excuses. We need to carry on with the season and be valued at the end of the season.”

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