Simeone confident of good show against Real despite pre-season mauling

Atletico Madrid hosts Real Madrid in Saturday's Derbi Madrileno and Diego Simeone is expecting a greater challenge than pre-seaon's 7-3 trouncing of Real.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone   -  Getty Images

Diego Simeone is certain Saturday's Derbi with Real Madrid is in the balance despite Atletico Madrid crushing itsbitter rivals 7-3 in pre-season.

The teams met two months ago in New Jersey and Atletico inflicted a humiliating defeat on Zinedine Zidane's men.

Diego Costa scored four goals and Joao Felix caught the eye, with Atletico surging 6-0 up by the 51st minute.

Madrid then endured an initially indifferent start to the season, though three successive wins have elevated them to LaLiga's summit, with Atletico a point adrift.

ALSO READ | Simeone happy for Costa after ending scoring drought

Simeone was asked in Friday's pre-match news conference whether July's remarkable win combined with Atletico being at home made Los Colchoneros favourites, but the coach is wary of a Madrid side which has shown significant signs of improvement in recent weeks.

"In this type of game, things are usually tight," Simeone told reporters. "They are defined by small details, which balance the matches on one side or the other.

"In the last games they have improved against Sevilla and Osasuna, where they had many changes and continued with the level shown in Seville.

 

"They have a great squad, a great coach, and we want to take the game where it suits us best.

"They've really good players and they're very dangerous when given space. [Gareth] Bale is improving, [Karim] Benzema is in great form and [Eden] Hazard has incredible attributes.

"They've a strong spine as well. Very little has changed in the players who have been key for years and maintained their place in the team.

"That centre of Casemiro, Sergio Ramos and Benzema, they're important players."

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