Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone will continue to put his faith in Diego Costa despite the striker's LaLiga goal drought continuing against Celta Vigo.

Simeone's side endured a frustrating time in front of goal at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday as they were held to a goalless draw.

Costa, 30, was booked after the final whistle for his part in an ugly fracas with the Celta Vigo players.

When asked a question about Costa's attitude for his role in the aftermath, Simeone claimed he "didn't see" the incident.

However, the Argentinian has backed Costa to come good even though the ex-Chelsea forward has not found the net in a competitive match since he scored against Alaves in March.

"The numbers are what you say, it's the reality, but I trust Costa," Simeone said.

"I know he'll be fit again and it's a challenge for him. The championship is long and the team needs him."

Simeone called on Costa and the club's other strikers to become more ruthless after Atletico's return of just seven goals in five LaLiga matches in this season so far.

"I think we started the pre-season at a great level, especially for strikers," added Simeone.

"The team looked good and it gives me the feeling that it is normal, when the season starts there are spikes and immediately the goals appear and in others they disappear.

"Hopefully we can get the focus to play back because the situations are there.

"If we do not, we must try to increase the offensive intensity because the goal comes from the rage of wanting to make a goal."

Atletico Madrid failed to win for a third successive game in all competitions as an inspired performance from Ruben Blanco secured Celta Vigo an unexpected 0-0 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Diego Simeone's side saw their 100 per cent LaLiga record come to an emphatic end against Real Sociedad last weekend, while they rallied on Wednesday to secure a 2-2 Champions League draw with Juventus.

However, their efforts in clawing back a two-goal deficit against the Serie A champions appeared to have taken a toll judging by their performance against Celta, with a sluggish Atletico failing to score at home in league action for the first time since May 2018.

Hector Herrera was rewarded for his equaliser off the bench in midweek with a first LaLiga start, while Simeone also selected Angel Correa in an attack-minded starting XI.

Yet for all their exerted efforts going forward, Atletico were unable to find a way to beat the outstanding Blanco.

He kept the home team at bay with a trio of fine saves in the first half, starting with an acrobatic effort to turn away Felipe's header from Kieran Trippier's inswinging free-kick.

The visiting goalkeeper also tipped over a rising long-range drive from Renan Lodi, with Blanco then denying Joao Felix's on-target prod from the resulting corner.

Koke tested the 24-year-old reflexes again from distance early in a second half where Atletico became increasingly frustrated with each passing minute.

Lodi's decision to go for goal from a tight angle rather than cross for the waiting Alvaro Morata summed up a below-par performance, while they were grateful substitute Pione Sisto failed to do better with a back-post opportunity in the closing minutes of a quickly forgettable encounter.

 

What does it mean? Sluggish Atleti come up short

After two tough fixtures, it is perhaps understandable Atleti were a little flat, despite the best efforts of a raucous home crowd to inspire their team.

Worryingly for Simeone, they have now managed just five goals in as many LaLiga outings in 2019-20, despite having 20 attempts on Saturday.

Blanco makes a point for Celta

The away team were resilient in defence but still relied on their goalkeeper to pick up a point on their travels. Blanco made five saves in total, the best of them his early denial of Felipe's close-range header.

Joao Felix fails to fire before departure

The Portugal international has still managed just the one goal for the Spanish club since his big-money arrival from Benfica. As was also the case against La Real, the teenager was withdrawn when his side were searching for a way to find a breakthrough in attack.

What's next?

With a midweek round of fixtures in Spain, Atletico Madrid travel to Real Mallorca on Wednesday. Celta, meanwhile, are in action the following day, as they host Espanyol.

Hector Herrera came off the bench to score a 90th-minute equaliser as Atletico Madrid fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Juventus in the Champions League.

Juan Cuadrado's stunning strike and a Blaise Matuidi header looked to have earned Maurizio Sarri's side victory in Group D on Wednesday.

However, Atletico produced a wonderful fightback as set pieces proved Juve's undoing, Stefan Savic nodding home from close range to set up a grandstand finish at the Wanda Metropolitano.

With injury time beckoning, substitute Herrera rose highest in the box to superbly flick home a header from Kieran Trippier's left-wing corner, leaving the spoils shared.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears set on his determination to bring young British talent to Manchester United.

There are four English names on the United manager's radar, apparently, as he looks to rebuild the team into a title-winning force once more.

The end of the season could potentially see a spend of a similar magnitude to the £150million, more or less, that he spent on Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James this year.

 

TOP STORY - MADDISON AND SANCHO TOP SOLSKJAER'S WISH LIST

As per ESPN, Manchester United will pursue deals for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho and Leicester City's James Maddison in 2020.

Manager Solskjaer is set on his policy of recruiting young, hungry British talent and remains keen on signing Sancho, who was reportedly a target this year.

United believe Leicester could sell Maddison for around £70m and are also interested in Newcastle United's Sean Longstaff, Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson and Stoke City's Nathan Collins.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona have been ordered by a judge to pay a €300 fine or play a match behind closed doors as part of Atletico Madrid's complaint against the transfer of Antoine Griezmann, Marca say. Atleti believe they are owed more than the €120m Barca paid to activate his release clause.

- The Daily Mail report Napoli are interested in Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard, a player they value at around €34m (£30.1m). 

- A handful of reports in Italy suggest Bernard Arnault, the billionaire owner of Louis Vuitton, is interested in buying Serie A giants AC Milan

- Back with Manchester United, and Calciomercato say JuventusInter, Milan and Borussia Dortmund are all keeping an eye on Nemanja Matic, who has grown frustrated at his reduced role in Solskjaer's plans.

Diego Simeone says he worries about "everything offensively and defensively" and admitted Atletico Madrid need to improve after seeing their 100 per cent start in LaLiga ended by Real Sociedad.

Atletico entered Saturday's contest, the first competitive fixture played at Sociedad's Reale Arena, having won their opening three league matches.

However, a fired-up Sociedad took all three points thanks to a deflected opener from Martin Odegaard and a debut goal for former Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal.

Atletico coach Simeone concedes there is work for his side to do.

"Everything worries me, I worry about anything that happens offensively and defensively," he said.

"We need to grow. We know what we have and what we are and where we need to go. LaLiga is very difficult, when you don't start a match how you should start, you lose.

"Since pre-season this is the first defeat, we need to improve and grow."

Simeone added that Atletico did not produce their best football until the game was already gone.

"The team wore its best face when already 2-0 [down]," he said. "In the final part [of the game] it's when we identified more with what we were doing."

Atletico Madrid's 100 per cent LaLiga record was emphatically ended on Saturday, as they lost 2-0 to a fired-up Real Sociedad in the first competitive fixture played at the Reale Arena.

Diego Simeone's side had managed three straight wins prior to the international break but turned in a below-par performance on the road, conceding two goals in a costly three-minute spell in the second half.

After a trio of away games at the start of the 2019-20 campaign, Sociedad excelled in front of a raucous crowd at their revamped home, albeit Martin Odegaard's opener owed much to a huge deflection off Stefan Savic.

They doubled their lead soon after through debutant Nacho Monreal, the former Arsenal defender seizing on a loose ball to poke home ahead of Jan Oblak.

Atletico's goalkeeper was injured in trying to prevent Monreal scoring and, after lengthy treatment on the field, was replaced by Antonio Adan, adding further to Simeone's concerns ahead of the start of the Champions League group stage in midweek.

Oblak had saved from Mikel Oyarzabal with an outstretched leg in a first half that saw the home side on top, while Savic denied Sociedad's captain when he inadvertently turned away an on-target header with his thigh.

Simeone sent on Marcos Llorente and Angel Correa in an attempt to turn the tide early in the second half, only for the visitors to be laid out by Sociedad's rapid one-two punch.

They had rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Eibar at home last time out but were unable to complete a similar comeback on this occasion, Sociedad goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya denying both Vitolo and Savic with smart saves to keep a clean sheet against his former club on a memorable occasion for the hosts.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone insists he is not worried about Angel Correa's state of mind after his failed move to AC Milan.

Correa, 24, was strongly linked with a move away from Atletico in the transfer window and was understood to have been a primary target of Milan.

The Argentina international, who has struggled to build on his early promise, looked to have fallen further down the pecking order in attack over the pre-season, with Joao Felix arriving, Alvaro Morata already on the books and Vitolo producing some eye-catching displays.

Milan were reported to have offered him a route out and a key role in a new era at the club, but they and Atletico failed to reach an agreement for the player who is said to have been valued at €50million.

He is yet to play for Atletico this season, but Simeone is adamant Correa has a place in the squad and can be important.

"I have seen him train in the best way, with the best predisposition and prepared for what the team needs, be it on the wing or as a forward," Simeone told reporters ahead of Saturday's trip to Real Sociedad.

"That has not changed because of what happened. Now that he has returned, he has had these 10 days.

"He is an important player. He gives us a directness and change of pace in attack that not many have. We will use him where he feels most comfortable."

Friday is the 32nd anniversary of Simeone's professional debut with Velez Sarsfield and the former Argentina international paid tribute to his coaches for developing him into the tactician he is today.

"I debuted 32 years ago when I was just 17 years old," he said. "It was a beautiful stage in my career.

"I remember working with some really great coaches. They made me a better person and they helped pave my way for the future to give me that possibility to become a coach.

"That allowed me to be immersed in my big passion, which is football, and the truth is I feel very happy about that.

"To have that moment, it's clear there were many happy and sad moments, just like life itself."

Mauricio Pochettino claimed his preference to keep Kieran Trippier was "so clear" despite the defender appearing to accuse Tottenham of keeping him guessing over their transfer plans.

England right-back Trippier moved to LaLiga side Atletico Madrid in July, bringing an end to a four-year stint in north London.

The 28-year-old endured an underwhelming final season with Spurs but last week said he had "wanted to stay" and might have done so had the club not "got rid" of him.

"I tried to speak to the chairman about it and I spoke to the manager about his plans and I didn't get a yes and I didn't get a no. So you get the impression," Trippier was quoted as saying.

Pochettino offered a different version of events and revealed the former Burnley player made contact through Harry Kane in an attempt to clarify his comments.

"He believed his words were twisted - I don't know anything more," said Pochettino, who did not receive a text message from Trippier due to recently changing his phone number.

"Kieran translated this message to me through Harry Kane. He wanted to tell me. But I've got no problem with Kieran.

"In football decisions happen and players move from one club to another. What happened happened, and we need to move on and he needs to think of Atletico Madrid and be happy there."

Pochettino added, according to several English newspapers: "The only conversation when he arrived after the summer was when he came to see me.

"He asked me for a meeting and said, 'Gaffer, I think I have a good possibility and for different reasons I would like to accept the offer from Atletico Madrid'.

"He didn't ask me nothing. He only communicated whether the club were going to accept the offer. Nothing more.

"It wasn't a conversation - 'Do you want me or don't you want me?'. It was so clear.

"He played the final of the Champions League, when I had plenty of different options, with Serge Aurier, Davinson Sanchez, Kyle Walker-Peters. But he played the final of the Champions League. My actions speak louder than my words."

Trippier joined Tottenham from Burnley in 2015 and went on to star at the World Cup three years later.

"We all feel proud to help him to achieve his dream and to reach a level that he wasn't at before he arrived at Tottenham," Pochettino said.

"That speaks very highly about Tottenham, very highly about him, and we are more than happy that he is enjoying the new experience in Spain.

"I hope he has a good life there."

When it came to Paul Pogba during the transfer window, Real Madrid and Juventus were the teams on everyone's lips.

Manchester United star Pogba was reportedly keen to leave Old Trafford in search of a new challenge.

However, another team were apparently poised to lure Pogba from the Theatre of Dreams…

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR STOPPED PSG FROM SIGNING POGBA

Neymar prevented Manchester United midfielder Pogba from moving to Paris Saint-Germain, according to Calciomercato.it.

PSG and United reportedly had an agreement in place for the transfer of Pogba, however, the Ligue 1 champions and their inability to offload Barcelona target Neymar stopped the deal.

The report says PSG were ready to pay €150million (£134m) for Pogba, who joined United from Juventus in 2016 for a then-record fee of €105m (£89m).

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid have an agreement with Chelsea for midfielder N'Golo Kante. DefensaCentral claims Los Blancos have the first chance to buy the France star should he be made available at Stamford Bridge.

- In-demand Dinamo Zagreb star Dani Olmo wants to leave the Croatian club in January or at the end of the season, according to Fichajes.net. The 21-year-old was linked with Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Valencia during the transfer window.

Juventus have not given up on signing Fiorentina and Italy forward Federico Chiesa, according to Calciomercato.it. The Serie A champions were keen to bring in Chiesa during the off-season but were unable to lure him from Florence.

- Sport says Paris Saint-Germain are beginning their remodelling job, with Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani facing uncertain futures. Silva and Cavani – who has been linked to incoming MLS outfit Inter Miami – are out of contract at the end of the season and are no guarantees to renew their contracts. Eric Maxim Choupo-MotingThomas Meunier and Layvin Kurzawa are available at the right price in January.

- Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic has turned down a move to Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Mandzukic was linked to Manchester United prior to the transfer window closing.

Gareth Southgate believes more English players will follow the example of Jadon Sancho and Kieran Trippier in moving abroad to European leagues.

Sancho left Manchester City to join Borussia Dortmund in 2017, and has since become a star in the Bundesliga.

Trippier, meanwhile, joined LaLiga heavyweights Atletico Madrid in the close season, after he was deemed surplus to requirements at Tottenham.

There has been an uptick in the amount of English players moving abroad to further their development in recent seasons, and Southgate has no doubt the success Sancho in particular has achieved in Germany will continue to inspire England hopefuls in testing themselves across the continent.

"I think it is brilliant for the perspective of playing out of the country, it is a brilliant life experience for Jadon and Kieran," Southgate told a news conference ahead of England's Euro 2020 qualifier with Bulgaria.

"I don't see a negative, it clearly is not harming their chances with us and we monitor players very closely.

"There are players who have played in France, Germany, the Netherlands such as Mason Mount, so it would become more apparent young people from England are more prepared to travel, whatever happens politically.

"They are different styles, Kieran is playing for one of the most successful teams and coaches in European football and Jadon is playing in front of 80,000 people at Dortmund.

"It is definitely a positive and I am certain more players will follow their path."

Sancho scored 12 Bundesliga goals last season and made his England debut in October, and striker Marcus Rashford has been thrilled to see the 19-year-old – along with other youngsters such as Mount and James Maddison – adapt swiftly to the squad.

"It has been brilliant, the [new faces] seem to fit right in," Rashford, who at 21 has 32 caps to his name, told the news conference.

"Since Gareth has come in, the younger players have trained the same as the main squad and they fit in seamlessly. The more we get coming in the better."

Nikola Kalinic claims Edin Dzeko convinced him to join Roma and believes the two strikers could form a successful front pairing.

Ex-Croatia international Kalinic secured a deadline-day loan switch to Stadio Olimpico after falling out of Diego Simeone's plans at Atletico Madrid.

The 31-year-old has prior experience in Italy with Fiorentina and AC Milan, scoring 33 times in 99 Serie A appearances.

Roma moved for a deputy to Dzeko after allowing Patrik Schick to leave for RB Leipzig but Kalinic wants to prove they can fit into the same side.

"I've spoken to Dzeko every day – he convinced me to come here," Kalinic said. "I think he's a great forward.

"The boss will decide whether we play with one or two strikers. I'm here to work hard and we'll see what happens. I'm happy in every position in the front line.

"I played on the left under [Paulo] Sousa [at Fiorentina]. I can play in a front two or in other formations."

Roma paid a €2million loan fee to capture Kalinic for the 2019-20 season and have an option to buy for a further €9m.

The former Blackburn Rovers man hopes to make an impression after a couple of lean campaigns in Milan and Madrid.

"First of all, I'd like to have an injury-free season because I've not played much over the past two years. I want to play more football this year," he said.

"We'll take things game by game – I won't say now that we'll win the Europa League or anything else.

"Roma want to play Champions League football. If we commit ourselves, game after game, we'll see where we end up."

The Giallorossi have taken two points from as many Serie A games under Paulo Fonseca, drawing against Genoa and Lazio.

The transfer window may be closed but the rumours do not stop!

Christian Eriksen was unable to secure a move away from Tottenham prior to Monday's deadline.

Since then, the likes of Atletico Madrid, Manchester United and Inter have been linked to the Spurs star.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO PREPARING JANUARY MOVE FOR ERIKSEN

Atletico Madrid are set to return for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen in January, according to AS.

Eriksen was linked to the likes of Atletico, Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United but a move did not materialise.

Now, Atletico, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly monitoring the situation as Eriksen prepares to become a free agent at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to the Mirror, Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is set to be offered a chance to move to the Premier League. The Croatian veteran was linked to Manchester United but a move failed to transpire prior to the transfer window closing.

- LaLiga pair Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao are keeping tabs on Chelsea and Spain full-back Cesar Azpilicueta, reports the Mirror. It comes amid concerns the Spaniard could lose his spot in the Chelsea XI to Reece James.

- Brazilian side Flamengo are interested in signing free agent Claudio Marchisio, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Former Juventus star Marchisio is without a club since leaving Zenit. Flamengo were also close to luring Mario Balotelli before he opted for Brescia.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants to sign a new defender in January. The report comes after Aymeric Laporte's knee injury left City with just two fit centre-backs – John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.

- David Beckham's Inter Miami are set to sign River Plate midfielder Exequiel Palacios, according to TNT Sports. The expansion franchise – who are backed by the former Manchester United star and will enter MLS in 2020 – have also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani and Barcelona forward Luis Suarez.

LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid can capitalise on aging Barcelona and Real Madrid sides in the 2019-20 title race, according to Diego Forlan.

Heading into the first international break of the campaign, Atletico are the only LaLiga side with a 100 per cent record from three games.

Despite losing star striker Antoine Griezmann to defending champions Barca and captain Diego Godin to Inter on a free transfer, the Rojiblancos have looked strong under long-serving coach Diego Simeone.

The club-record €120million arrival of Joao Felix from Benfica has freshened Atletico's attack, with former striker Forlan backing them for a first league triumph since 2013-14.

"Yes. Well, we have to see," Forlan said, courtesy of LaLiga, when asked about his old team's title chances. 

"I know that Real Madrid and Barcelona have great players but so do Atletico Madrid. They signed really good players, Joao Felix as I said, and Diego Costa is an experienced player, great talent.

"They've renewed the team with some great young players. They did a great pre-season and now we need to see how they do in the league. But they look really good. What they showed in the pre-season was interesting, great games against great teams.

"The derby against Real Madrid, I know it was a friendly but it was also a derby and nobody likes to lose by that kind of score [7-3].

"They're going to be fighting [for the title], they always fight. The gap is getting a little closer now. And those players that made history for Real Madrid and Barcelona, they're getting older as well. That could be an advantage for Atletico Madrid.

"Having a new team and renewing the team every season. Real Madrid and Barcelona are doing it a little slower than Atletico but they're still in great shape. Great players with experience. We have to see, but I think Atletico Madrid are in a good position to fight for the title again."

Atleti return to action away to Real Sociedad on September 14, before welcoming Juventus to the Spanish capital four days later for the start of the Champions League group stage.

Europe's transfer window closed on Monday evening and the continent's top clubs avoided the temptation of breaking the bank for last-minute deals.

Most had their business all wrapped up comfortably before the deadline, while the widely floated return of Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain to Barcelona sank in the Seine.

But it was a transfer window in which there was plenty of lavish spending, and it was a familiar crop of clubs doing the biggest deals.

Here is a look at the most expensive signings made by European clubs during the window - including two of the world's most talented youngsters.

Matthijs de Ligt - Ajax to Juventus

This Dutch prodigy was a huge hit in the Champions League and Eredivisie for Ajax last season, and the powerful centre-back captained the Amsterdam giants before he was inevitably courted by Europe's leading clubs. Juventus won the battle for his signature, with De Ligt, who was 19 at the time of the move, making a €75million leap to Serie A, signing a contract until 2024. He turned 20 in August.

Nicolas Pepe - Lille to Arsenal

Arsenal were often accused of over-cautious frugality during Arsene Wenger's reign as manager, but the club backed Unai Emery with a big-money move for Lille's exciting forward Nicolas Pepe, who arrived at Emirates Stadium in a £72m deal. He was brought in to give Arsenal a fearsome forward line, teaming up with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

Romelu Lukaku - Manchester United to Inter

Red Rom reached the end of the line at Manchester United, where it was becoming increasingly obvious he would not be a preferred pick of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But United got back almost all their money for the former Everton frontman when they sold him on to Inter for a fee understood to be €80m.

Lucas Hernandez - Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich

Bayern had this deal in the bag before last season ended, announcing the €80m signing way back in March. Hernandez arrived at the Allianz Arena from Atletico at the campaign's end, and after recovering from knee surgery the 23-year-old made his debut on the second weekend of the new Bundesliga season. Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic described Hernandez as "one of the best defenders in the world".

Harry Maguire - Leicester City to Manchester United

Jose Mourinho wanted him 12 months earlier, but Manchester United finally landed Maguire from Leicester City in an £80m deal, making him the world's most expensive defender. Maguire was a standout performer for England at the 2018 World Cup and has come a long way since his days at Sheffield United and Hull City, with a six-year contract at United showing the club see him as a cornerstone figure for the new Solskjaer era.

Eden Hazard - Chelsea to Real Madrid

Hazard had made no secret of his wish to join Real Madrid, and the Belgian's ambition was realised when Zinedine Zidane came calling during the close season. After seven years at Chelsea, Hazard moved to the Santiago Bernabeu for an initial fee of around €100m - with the possibility of more cash to follow in add-ons. Injury has prevented Hazard making an early impact in LaLiga.

Antoine Griezmann - Atletico Madrid to Barcelona

A year on from winning the World Cup with France, Griezmann swapped Atletico Madrid for Barcelona in one of the most contentious moves of the European summer. Barcelona coughed up €120m  to release Griezmann from his contract, infuriating Atletico who claimed talks had been taking place behind their back, at a time when the player had a higher buy-out clause, and demanded a higher fee be paid. Once he - and the dust - settles at Camp Nou, Griezmann has what it takes to be a big hit.

Joao Felix - Benfica to Atletico Madrid

With Griezmann on his way, Atletico made sure they would have a top-class replacement by reinvesting in Benfica's star teenage forward Joao Felix. The 19-year-old cost the Rojiblancos €126m, immediately inherited Griezmann's number seven shirt, and his prodigious talent is already winning plenty of admirers in Spain.

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