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Youthful Atletico ready to challenge again, says Simeone

29 October 2015, 18:41

Madrid - Atletico Madrid's new-look young side are ready to challenge again for the title following a tough season after winning La Liga, says coach Diego Simeone.

Following their success in 2014 they finished third, 16 points off winners Barcelona, last season.

In a major overhaul of the team, which included the departure of Arda Turan and Mario Mandzukic, the club have invested in youth and following a slow start, Atletico have clicked into gear this season.

"It was very difficult for us the year after winning the championship, very tough. It was a hard season but we coped well and showed a good level," Simeone told a news conference on Thursday.

"Now we have a new 'litter' of young players who have good qualities, but this doesn't mean anything. We know that each game you start again and at Atletico you are valued by what you are going to do and not what you did.

"We are ready to go again and we have an important responsibility in the league for what we have achieved."

After nine games Atletico again lie third, with 19 points, two behind leaders Real Madrid and Barcelona, ahead of Friday's match away to Deportivo La Coruna.

Angel Correa in attack and Yannick Carrasco on the wing have shone in particular so far, while playmaker Oliver Torres has fitted in comfortably following a loan spell at Porto.

The impact of another youngster, Luciano Vietto, has been affected by an injury but the quality he showed for Villarreal last season suggests he will have plenty to offer Simeone's side.

They have arrived along with the more experienced Jackson Martinez, who is now finding his form with goals in his last two games, and Filipe Luis, following his season at Chelsea.

"The best way for youngsters to grow is to be surrounded by players of stature and I think that is better than playing 30 matches somewhere else," said Simeone.

"There is no doubt that scoring goals gives confidence to forwards and helps their development. This is a game and you need to keep improving, and there is a long way to go. We can keep growing and one of the best virtues is that we always want more."

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- Reuters


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