Diego Simeone insists he is having no problem getting his message across to new signing Moussa Dembele thanks to the French language speakers already at Atletico Madrid.

Dembele joined Atletico on loan from Lyon last week until the end of the season, at which point LaLiga's leaders will have the option to buy him permanently for €33.5m.

The former Celtic striker has scored just once in 16 Ligue 1 appearances this season but comes in to bolster Atlei's forward line following the departure of Diego Costa.

Simeone has been impressed by Dembele's initial efforts in training, something he conceded has been made easier by the presence of Thomas Lemar, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Yannick Carrasco.

"Dembele just arrived a few days ago and he is trying to settle into the group," Simeone said ahead of Thursday's trip to Eibar, one of Atletico's games in hand on Real Madrid that could see them extend their advantage at the summit to seven points.

"Thankfully he has team-mates like Kondogbia, Carrasco and Lemar who are close to him and doing translations in order to make the communication quicker.

"We will have time to let him know what we want from him exactly, in the meantime we let him to settle in the best way with his  team-mates.

"I see him excited and happy. He is a number nine and we expect from him all the good we saw in him to bring him to Atletico Madrid."

Dembele's presence could further hinder Joao Felix's chances of getting back into Simeone's starting XI.

The record signing was a substitute in each of Atleti's past two LaLiga encounters and has not found the net since the 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on December 1.

Nevertheless, Simeone remains satisfied with the Portugal international's contributions.

"I ask Joao the same as always - to be involved in the group, as he is. Being competitive, as he has been in the last games," he added.

"He didn’t start the game, but he was important for the team from other positions. When he got in, he showed all his talent and quality. The team needs his skills."

Diego Simeone hinted at the idea he could leave Atletico Madrid at the end of the season after their awful Copa del Rey defeat to third-tier Cornella.

Simeone's LaLiga leaders exited the Copa on Wednesday, losing 1-0 to a goal from former Atletico B defender Adrian Jimenez.

Ricard Sanchez was sent off as Atleti slumped to a shock reverse swiftly described by the Spanish media as a "disaster" among the very worst of Simeone's 502 games in charge of the club.

The long-time coach named a strong side, including record signing Joao Felix, but saw his team remarkably unable to register a single shot on target.

Copa failings are a familiar story by now, though, with the Rojiblancos losing to Cultural Leonesa last season. Meanwhile, they have not beaten a fellow LaLiga outfit in the competition since seeing off Elche in January 2017.

Simeone recognised Atleti are struggling in one-off knockout matches - also losing in last season's Champions League to RB Leipzig - but added the surprising qualifier that it would be an issue to consider only if he was still at the helm next year.

"[Cornella] played better," he said. "In the whole game, what they wanted was always done better than what we wanted.

"They took advantage of the set-piece situations and immediately found the goal.

"The boys tried to compete in the best way. In the first half, we had more chances, and in the second, it was rockier. It got difficult after the red card.

"This competition has not given us satisfaction in recent years but solutions will have to be found if we are here next year."

Saul Niguez, captain on the night, identified the same problem as he added: "We apologise to the fans. We never throw away competitions, but in these single-game editions we are not doing well."

Given Atleti's struggles, the decision to replace Joao Felix with 18-year-old debutant Mario Soriano 15 minutes from time prompted some discussion.

But the Portugal international mustered only one shot, which was blocked, prior to his withdrawal and failed to create a single chance - unlike his replacement.

Joao Felix epitomised the visitors' display as he completed just 13 of his 21 attempted passes and lost possession 13 times, winning none of his three aerial duels.

The change still appeared a big call, yet Simeone explained his star forward was struggling with an ankle injury.

"He was hurt," Simeone said. "We looked for a fresher guy. He had a bruised ankle and we wanted to find a guy in good condition."

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