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Diego Simeone is determined to turn Atletico Madrid’s fortunes around, explaining just how much the club means to him.
Simeone is enduring a tough spell at the Wanda Metropolitano, with Atleti losing their past three matches in all competitions heading into Sunday’s LaLiga clash with Leganes.
Real Madrid saw off their city rivals in agonising circumstances in a Supercopa de Espana final penalty shoot-out, but Atleti then came unstuck against more modest opponents: Eibar in LaLiga and third-tier Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey.
Simeone insists the disappointing run of form does not come from a lack of interest on his behalf, though.
“I’m always thinking about my team,” he told a pre-match news conference. “I don’t think in the moments when we lose or when we win, but I always look after my team.
“Sometimes I can’t sleep thinking about the line-up for a final or because we lost, or when I don’t know which player to choose that will be better for the team.
“Atletico Madrid is my life – the people who know me know that. We will keep the same path, with enthusiasm and passion.
“We live in the present and we go match after match and nothing will change in my life. We’ve been doing it for a long time now.”
 PRESS CONFERENCE
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) January 25, 2020
Simeone accepts there was always likely to be a certain amount of criticism following recent results, but he retains belief in his side.
“It is clear that we are coming from two difficult defeats,” he said. “All the criticism may seem fair, but I am convinced and I believe in my players.
“We have a great team with players who will respond to goals that we have set, and I do not change from match to match. We are convinced of what we want and we will not change in that sense.
“I understand and accept when the criticisms are fair and work accordingly to have a good game [on Sunday].”
Simeone still appears to have the support of Atleti fans, who launched a campaign showing their love for the coach on Twitter with the hashtag “#TeQueremosCholo”.
“I had not seen it until the press people told me,” Simeone said. “Everything natural like that is appreciated.
“It boosts the security and enthusiasm that I always have in the day-to-day at the club.”
Atleti look set to be without defender Santiago Arias against Leganes after initial tests showed he suffered a muscle injury in his left thigh against Cultural.