Simeone: Koeman has shown a lot of character and I wish him the best

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Diego Simeone has spoken to the press ahead of Atletico Madrid's huge LaLiga Santander match against Barcelona this Saturday night.

The Argentine had some words of support for Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman, whose days at the Camp Nou seem to be numbered.

"I don't read the rumours," Simeone said during Friday's pre-mtach press conference.

"Koeman has shown a lot of character and I wish him all the best.

"We are all worried about our own situations.

"I know he must be in an uncomfortable situation.

"All of us coaches respect Koeman, and I always will."

He also stated that he believes that Barcelona are impressive both in terms of their squad but also their coaching staff.

"We always think about the players' abilities," Simeone stated.

"Barcelona have a great squad and staff. It'll be a great game and we're completely focused."

Antoine Griezmann has returned to Atletico and Simeone discussed his best position on the pitch.

"We always used to put him out on the right or left," he commented.

"Players are privileged, the most important thing is that they're ready to play where the team needs them.

"He's a player who has the ability to help the team wherever we play him."

Luis Suarez, Joao Felix and Griezmann have all pleased the Atletico boss recently.

"I'm happy. They work well together," Simeone said about his attacking trio.

"There are important alternatives in the squad, like [Thomas] Lemar, [Angel] Correa and [Matheus] Cunha.

"This creates enthusiasm and the most important thing is to make sure all the players feel valued.

"How well they do when they're given an opportunity makes the difference and hopefully we can kick on."

This will be the first time Simeone has faced Barcelona without Lionel Messi.

"I'm only focusing on Atletico, that's what I'm interested in," he insisted.

"We'll see what happens tomorrow."

Despite their issues, Simeone hasn't ruled Barcelona out for the race for the LaLiga Santander title.

"They have a great squad with [Jordi] Alba, [Sergino] Dest, [Gerard] Pique, Pedri, Ansu [Fati], [Ousmane] Dembele and [Frenkie] De Jong," he claimed.

"They're all great players. They're a team with some great footballers."

Luis Suarez has been linked with a move away, but Simeone says his striker is focused.

"He has the same hunger and desire that he's always had," El Cholo said.

"We try to help him fulfil his full potential in every game."

Finally, he expects a tough game from Barcelona, as always.

"We'll see tomorrow, but Barcelona have always had a style of play away from home," Simeone concluded.

"It's brought them a lot of success, and I expect to face the same team as always."

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