Simeone presents united Atleti after Savic-Ortega bust-up reports

By Sports Desk March 15, 2019

Diego Simeone insisted Atletico Madrid remain a united group after reports of infighting emerged in the wake of the Champions League loss to Juventus.

Atletico's dreams of contesting the final at their Wanda Metropolitano home were trampled on Tuesday as they surrendered a two-goal first-leg advantage in a 3-0 defeat in Turin.

Reports in Spanish media have since claimed defender Stefan Savic and fitness coach Oscar Ortega had a falling out in the days leading up to the trip to Italy.

The pair are alleged to have engaged in a confrontation in the changing room following Atletico's win over Leganes last weekend, an incident Simeone did not directly deny.

"Inside the team we're all on the same page and will keep going in the same path," Simeone said.

"I won't make any statement about [the rumours]. This is like a family, everything stays inside.

"If there's something to solve we will solve it on the inside and if there's nothing to solve we won't, but after a defeat it's normal these kind of things show up.

"People try to unsettle the team, but that's normal when you win or lose or play a final.

"After a Europa League final two players were angry with me and nobody found about it and nobody spoke about it because we won."

Simeone admitted the meek loss to Juve has "created lots of criticism" and attributed the response to the increase in expectations under his stewardship.

The Argentine, who in February extended his contract through to 2022, said he feels "questioned" after each match, having attracted scrutiny for the defensive tactics that failed to contain Cristiano Ronaldo.

Atletico CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin spoke out in support of the head coach, reaffirming his expectation for the new deal to be upheld.

"I fully trust our sports project and Simeone," Gil Marin said. "I offered Diego the contract renewal the week following the 4-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

"And it was not to go against the current, nor to thank him for these seven years. It was because I am convinced that we will enjoy the next three years as we have been doing so far.

"I'm sure Diego will complete a decade at Atletico Madrid that will change our history."

The Rojiblancos return to LaLiga action away to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Related items

  • Injured Messi to miss Morocco friendly Injured Messi to miss Morocco friendly

    Lionel Messi will miss Argentina's friendly against Morocco on Tuesday due to a pelvic injury.

    Messi made his return to international football in Friday's shock 3-1 friendly defeat to Venezuela in Madrid.

    However, it was subsequently confirmed that the Barcelona star had suffered a problem during the game and will not travel to Tangier.

    Messi missed six matches during a self-imposed post-World Cup exile from the national team before making his comeback at the Wanda Metropolitano, but goals from Salomon Rondon and Jhon Murillo saw Argentina trailing 2-0 at half-time.

    Captain Messi was involved in the move that saw Lautaro Martinez pull one back for Lionel Scaloni's men, but Josef Martinez made sure of the win for Venezuela from the spot.

    Messi, who played the full 90 minutes, previously retired from Argentina duty in 2016 following the team's defeat in the Copa America Centenario, before reversing the decision to return for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

    Gonzalo Martinez will also miss the Morocco fixture with a thigh injury.

  • England 5 Czech Republic 0: Sterling hat-trick gives Three Lions roaring start to Euro 2020 qualifiers England 5 Czech Republic 0: Sterling hat-trick gives Three Lions roaring start to Euro 2020 qualifiers

    Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick as England made an impressive start to their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 5-0 win over the Czech Republic at Wembley on Friday.

    Gareth Southgate's Three Lions qualified for the Nations League Finals in their most recent game late last year, and the four-month break since does not appear to have done them any harm, as Sterling inspired an easy victory.

    With Marcus Rashford injured, Southgate handed a first senior start to Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and he made a strong impact, setting up Sterling's opener, before the Manchester City star won a penalty that Harry Kane converted.

    The Czech Republic started the second half better, but two goals in six minutes from Sterling ended any slim hopes of a fightback, while Tomas Kalas' own goal rounded off an abysmal outing for the visitors. 

    England were dealt the blow of losing Eric Dier to injury in the 17th minute, with Ross Barkley replacing him.

    But the hosts took the lead soon after at the end of a sequence of 25 passes, with Kane's incisive ball finding the run of Sancho to square across the face of goal for Sterling to knock home.

    Sterling – who went into the match with only four international goals to his name – threatened again just before the break, winning a penalty after a combination of Kalas and Pavel Kaderabek blocked him off, and Kane made no mistake with the spot-kick.

    The away side showed some positive intent after the interval, but goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka was helpless to prevent England increasing their lead just past the hour as a pass ricocheted to Sterling in the area and he curled home a left-footed effort after a clever turn.

    Sterling completed his treble 22 minutes from time when his long-range strike deflected in off Ondrej Celustka, and Callum Hudson-Odoi replaced him soon after to become England's youngest competitive debutant.

    The Chelsea winger played a role in the final goal as his shot was parried by Pavlenka and Kalas put the ball into his own net with a woeful first touch, completing a humiliating match for the Czech Republic.

     

    What does it mean? Sterling and Kane to have a field day in Group A

    Sterling was deadly in front of goal on and, while Kane was a little quieter than usual, he still managed to add to his goal haul in an England shirt.

    Most will consider the Czech Republic to be England's toughest opposition in Group A, but the Three Lions tore them apart, with Sterling leading the surge.

    Sancho is the real deal

    A couple of wayward early passes suggested nerves on his full England debut, but Sancho eased into proceedings, teeing up Sterling to give England the lead. After that he looked his usual self, catching the eye with his silky footwork and fine movement. He is surely a mainstay in the making.

    Alli fails to sparkle

    Most of England's more forward-thinking players impressed in one way or another, but Dele Alli looked a little off the pace and was significantly less involved.

    What's next?

    England travel to Podgorica to face Montenegro on Monday, while the Czech Republic host Brazil in a friendly a day later.

  • Goretzka urges fans to 'stand up with courage' to racism Goretzka urges fans to 'stand up with courage' to racism

    Leon Goretzka has implored supporters to "stand up with courage" to racism having called the alleged abuse of Germany team-mates Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan "terrifying".

    The German Football Association (DFB) released a statement on Thursday condemning an incident that occurred during Germany's 1-1 draw with Serbia on Wednesday, when Sane and Gundogan were "constantly insulted by a small group of spectators" in Wolfsburg.

    A journalist posted a video on Facebook in which he described the alleged abuse, footage that Goretzka witnessed himself, and that prompted him to address the issue during a news conference on Friday.

    "I would like to make a statement on this matter," he told reporters.

    "I watched the video too and was moved by it. The scenes he described were terrifying.

    "I think you should do everything possible against these people. I grew up in the Ruhrpott, where if you get asked where you are from, you answer with Schalke, Dortmund or Bochum.

    "Here at the DFB we have said multiple times that we stand for diversity and integration natural to us.

    "So this is something that has to be punished. He described that nobody stood up against these people and I can only support everybody out there to stand up with courage."

    The DFB statement said police had been informed of the incident and were now investigating. 

    It added: "Football is diverse - just like the whole society. Football is a role model and has the power to support social-change processes. 

    "The DFB therefore advocates that a climate of respect and humanity in football is taken for granted. 

    "To live up to this claim, on and off the pitch, is both a challenge and an obligation. Discrimination in the form of insults, disadvantages or marginalisation should not be allowed in football."

    A Wolfsburg police spokesperson has since told SID that three perpetrators have turned themselves in.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.