Diego Simeone believes Atletico Madrid are benefiting from the competition offered by their fringe players and is adamant that their current depth will have an impact this season.
Atletico, who are unable to register new players until January, were quiet during the transfer window, with their only significant outlay being on Sevilla’s Vitolo, who was immediately loaned to Las Palmas.
However, a number of players who were on the edges of the first-team last term have begun the current campaign well, with Thomas Partey and Nico Gaitan in particular playing bigger roles.
Luciano Vietto has also returned from a loan spell at Sevilla with the view to competing with Fernando Torres, Angel Correa and Kevin Gameiro as Antoine Griezmann’s support in attack.
And Simeone is certain that Atletico – who have eight points from four games – are steadily improving, owing some thanks to the first-team’s supporting cast.
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) September 19, 2017
“It [having a deeper squad] has improved the level of competition within the team,” Simeone told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Athletic Bilbao. “Lucas [Hernandez], Thomas, Gaitan, Vietto – they have all raised their game.
“We have always thought that having more competition would give us the possibility to choose the players which are best suited to each game.
“That’s what every coach wants and for now that’s what we’re trying at the moment. There are so many games to play and the competition has risen our level. That will improve the team in the future, I hope.
“The team has already grown in terms of their football in the last few games, with the exception of against Malaga, which had many nuances around emotion and anxiety.
“But the team is getting better with offensive combinations. We are creating goal situations, we are making a good start to the season.”