Yannick Carrasco and Thomas Lemar have been included in Atletico Madrid's squad for Saturday's derby clash with Real Madrid.

Belgium international Carrasco has spent time training with Atletico and officially re-joined the LaLiga club on Friday in a loan deal until the end of the season.

Atleti boss Diego Simeone was unsure if the winger would be registered in time to feature at the Santiago Bernabeu, but he has been named as part of the 20-man group.

Simeone can also call upon Lemar this weekend as the midfielder - strongly linked with a January exit - has recovered from a hamstring injury that ruled him out of the club's last six matches. 

Club-record signing Joao Felix and fellow attacker Diego Costa remain absent through injury, while defenders Kieran Trippier, Santiago Arias and Jose Gimenez also miss out on selection.

Fifth-place Atletico are winless in their last two LaLiga matches, leaving them 10 points adrift of leaders Madrid, and were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Cultural Leonesa last week.

Meanwhile, Madrid confirmed on Friday that Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and Rodrygo Goes will play no part against Atleti, but Casemiro, Eder Militao and Isco have all returned to the squad.

Barcelona signed Brazilian midfielder Matheus Fernandes and Portuguese forward Francisco Trincao on transfer deadline day, but both players must wait for their chance to shine at Camp Nou.

Fernandes will join Quique Setien's squad from Palmeiras in July after a €10million package was agreed for the 21-year-old, who has played for the Brazil Under-20 team.

Braga accepted a €31m offer from Barca for 20-year-old forward Trincao, and he will also formally join the Catalan club's ranks at the end of the season.

Both players have agreed five-year contracts, the Blaugrana announced, with Fernandes' contract including a €300m buy-out clause and Trincao's deal showing a €500m clause.

Braga will take Barca's 18-year-old striker Abel Ruiz on loan until the end of the season and then make the deal permanent for €8m, with the LaLiga club having a buy-back option.

Barca were not the only Spanish club busy in the market though, with Celta Vigo signing striker Fyodor Smolov on loan from Lokomotiv Moscow until the end of the season.

Atletico Madrid re-signed Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco, almost two years after he left to join Chinese side Dalian Yifang. The 26-year-old joined until the end of the season on loan.
 

STAYING PUT

Deadline day was as notable for the deals that looked to have fallen through as those that were completed.

Paris Saint-Germain ruled out allowing Edinson Cavani to leave, as a host of clubs fancied taking the Uruguayan off their hands, while Chelsea refused to let France striker Olivier Giroud depart Stamford Bridge.

Tottenham were among the clubs keen on Giroud, but Jose Mourinho looked like missing out on the striker he wanted to strengthen a front-line depleted by the loss of injured England captain Harry Kane.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale would not be leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

Manchester United remained linked with Bournemouth forward Joshua King, but time was running out for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to add new faces to his Old Trafford squad.

United made one signing, but it was a low-profile deal as England Under-20 goalkeeper Nathan Bishop arrived from third-tier Southend United.

Arsenal brought in defender Cedric Soares on loan from Southampton.

In Scotland, champions Celtic shipped out Scotland international Lewis Morgan to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, who are part-owned by David Beckham.

Belgian side Genk allowed attacking midfielder Ianis Hagi, son of Romanian great Gheorghe Hagi, to join Scottish giants Rangers on loan.
 

KOUAME, DUNCAN IN

Serie A transfer activity was dominated by Fiorentina, who signed Ivorian forward Christian Kouame from Genoa, initially on loan. The deal will be made permanent at the end of the season.

They also brought in Ghanaian midfielder Alfred Duncan from Sassuolo in a similar deal, a loan with an obligation to buy.

Reports in Italy said Kevin-Prince Boateng was set to leave Fiorentina among the incomings, with Besiktas his destination. Turkish giants Besiktas also snapped up 18-year-old Croatian midfielder Ajdin Hasic from Dinamo Zagreb on permanent terms.

Atalanta agreed a loan deal with Nice, acquiring defender Adrien Tameze from the Ligue 1 outfit with a purchase option.

World Cup winner Steven Nzonzi cut short a season-long loan from Roma to Galatasaray, returning to his French homeland with Rennes on a six-month loan with an option for a further year.
 

HERTHA BUSY

In the Bundesliga, Emre Can left Juventus for Borussia Dortmund on Friday evening, initially on loan until the end of the campaign but with a €25m fee agreed for a potential permanent transfer.

Elsewhere, Hertha Berlin followed up Thursday's signing of Krzysztof Piatek by prising 20-year-old Brazilian winger Matheus Cunha from table-toppers RB Leipzig, for whom he scored nine goals in 52 games.

Hertha managing director Michael Preetz said on the club's website: "We wanted to increase the quantity and improve the quality up front, which we have been able to do with the Piatek and Cunha transfers."

Leipzig also offloaded Austrian midfielder Stefan Ilsanker to Eintracht Frankfurt. He spent four-and-a-half years at Leipzig, joining them in the second tier.

Werder Bremen signed striker Davie Selke on an 18-month loan from Hertha, the 25-year-old returning to the club where he began his professional career.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel insists Edinson Cavani could be in a worse position than having to stay at the club.

The striker had appeared set to leave during the transfer window, with his contract expiring at the end of the season and his place in the first team usurped by Mauro Icardi.

Atletico Madrid were favourites to sign the Uruguay star but reports in Spain suggest they pulled out of the deal due to demands from the player's agent.

A Premier League move was also mooted, with Chelsea and Manchester United keen to sign a striker, but Frank Lampard appeared to confirm no new arrivals would be made on deadline day when stating Olivier Giroud would not be sold.

Tuchel had always been keen to keep Cavani, and he now hopes to see the 32-year-old regain top form as PSG keep up their pursuit of a clean sweep of domestic honours and Champions League glory this season.

"There are worse situations than staying at Paris Saint-Germain," he told reporters ahead of Saturday's Ligue 1 match with Montpellier at Parc des Princes.

"Edinson will feel good soon. He needs to regain confidence and rhythm - that's normal for a forward.

"Edi is a great player for the club. The fact the group is not changing is positive because we are used to working together.

"Everyone has a chance to be first choice. Edinson missed several weeks due to injury and his situation. So, we have to be patient and not think he can bring his best game on Saturday.

"If he regains rhythm and confidence, he'll be important for us. We're going to help him regain all his abilities."

Cavani has started just six games in all competitions for PSG in 2019-20, scoring five goals.

PSG are 10 points clear of Marseille at the top of Ligue 1 after 21 games.

Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale are not in the Real Madrid squad for Saturday's LaLiga derby with Atletico Madrid.

Brazilian forward Rodrygo Goes also misses out on the 19-man squad, along with Brahim Diaz and Nacho Fernandez.

Head coach Zinedine Zidane had suggested Bale and Hazard could be involved in the match at the Santiago Bernabeu after some encouraging signs in training this week.

Hazard has been out since November with an ankle injury, while Bale was hurt in the 3-1 Copa del Rey triumph over Unionistas de Salamanca last week and missed wins over Real Valladolid and Real Zaragoza.

Bale had been linked with a deadline-day return to Tottenham but Zidane insisted on Friday he was "not contemplating" such a move.

Casemiro, Eder Militao and Isco have all returned to the Madrid squad for the clash with Diego Simeone's side.

Madrid are three points clear at the top of LaLiga after 21 matches, 10 points above Atleti, who sit in fifth place.

Yannick Carrasco has re-joined Atletico Madrid from Dalian Yifang on loan until the end of the season and Diego Simeone has not ruled out further deadline-day arrivals.

Belgium international Carrasco trained with Atletico prior to confirmation of the deal being announced on Friday and coach Simeone hopes to be able to call upon him in the LaLiga meeting with rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

The 26-year-old joined Atletico from Monaco in 2015 and left for Chinese Super League side Dalian in February 2018, but Simeone is pleased to have him back.

"[Carrasco] is excited and wants to be here," said Simeone. "If the paperwork is done, he will certainly be with us [against Madrid].

"I want him to come with the same commitment we spoke about on the telephone. I liked Yannick's desire to come to Atletico. That is an important step for what can happen next."


Atletico reportedly failed with an €18million bid for Edinson Cavani, whose contract at Paris Saint-Germain will expire at the end of the season, but there may still be new additions on deadline day.

"There are still a few hours left. Anything can happen," said Simeone.

The Atleti boss has been subject to increasing criticism in recent weeks, with his team falling 10 points behind LaLiga leaders Madrid and suffering elimination from the Copa del Rey to third-tier Cultural Leonesa.

Zinedine Zidane spoke out in support of his cross-city counterpart on Friday and Simeone was thankful for his words.

"It's nice when a colleague of Zidane's quality thinks this way. I return the message," said the Argentine.

"He is the ideal coach for Madrid. He has the rank and the ability to do what he feels. He returned to compete like he had before he left.

"Madrid have improved a lot defensively. They are very strong. They have many options in attack and that allows him to play with different players.

"It will be a match where the details and intelligence will have a lot of dominance."

Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale are in contention to return for Real Madrid in Saturday's derby against Atletico Madrid.

Belgium forward Hazard was beginning to show signs of his best form after a big-money move from Chelsea before an ankle injury sustained in November curtailed his momentum, with a hamstring issue having seen him miss large chunks earlier in the campaign.

Hazard returned to training last week and head coach Zinedine Zidane said he could be involved in El Derbi, though did not make any guarantees.

When asked about his availability, Zidane replied: "Hazard has been training with us all week.

"He could be included but we will never take any risks."

Bale twisted his ankle in a 3-1 Copa del Rey triumph over Unionistas de Salamanca last week and missed wins over Real Valladolid and Real Zaragoza.

Zidane, though, again kept his cards close to his chest when asked if the Wales forward will face Atleti.

"It's the same question, I'm not going to say who's going to play because it's something personal," Zidane added. 

"All players are prepared and then we'll see what happens.

"We have 25 players and the good thing is that they are all involved. Then I am the one to choose because I am the coach. Since we have 25, the complicated thing is the call for the 18. All I want is for the players to be focused and prepared."

Bale's future at the Santiago Bernabeu was once again a topic of discussion with reports suggesting he could make a return to Tottenham on loan.

However, Zidane is not expecting such a scenario on deadline day.

"Gareth is here with us and I am counting on him. I am not contemplating this possibility," Zidane said.

Manchester United look set to continue scrambling for strikers throughout deadline day.

While Bruno Fernandes has finally arrived, the Red Devils were reportedly less successful in a surprise bid to bring Bournemouth forward Joshua King back to Old Trafford.

Now, with the countdown well and truly on, a Tottenham target appears to have been removed from United's radar.

 

TOP STORY - UNITED PASS ON WILLIAN JOSE

Though still without Marcus Rashford, United have rejected the chance to sign Willian Jose on loan, according to Sky Sports.

Real Sociedad reportedly failed to gain a bite after offering the Brazilian striker to the Champions League aspirants amid negotiations with another Premier League club in Tottenham.

Spurs earlier looked to be in pole position to sign the 28-year-old permanently, but may now have to settle for a temporary deal as discussions continue.

The prospect of a bolstering their attack following Rashford's injury would have appealed to United, who reportedly failed in an attempt to capture Cherries star King.

The Telegraph claims Eddie Howe's insistence on keeping the Norwegian denied Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the chance to reunite with the player he coached while in charge of United's reserve side.

 

ROUND-UP

- Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain will keep Edinson Cavani unless LaLiga side Atletico Madrid improve from €15million to €20m, according to ESPN reporter Julien Laurens.

- Juventus midfielder Emre Can will join Borussia Dortmund on loan with an obligation for the Bundesliga club to buy for €30m, reports Goal.

- Manchester City are set to beat Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayer Leverkusen to Coritiba's 17-year-old Brazilian right-back Yan Couto, claims Mundo Deportivo. 

- Ricardo Rodriguez is out the door and Milan might have settled on a shock replacement. Sky Sports suggests the Rossoneri have agreed an €11.9m (£10m) deal to take left-back Antonee Robinson from Championship outfit Wigan Athletic. The Serie A side are also said to be on the cusp of signing Anderlecht youngster Alexis Saelemaekers.

- Inter and Lazio are competing to secure Chelsea centre-forward Olivier Giroud before the transfer window shuts, claims Sky Sport Italia. 

Diego Simeone appeared to have perfected a defence-first approach at Atletico Madrid.

However, Zinedine Zidane's work with Real Madrid this season has seemingly been based on the same philosophy and is reaping far greater rewards.

LaLiga leaders Madrid will hope to open a six-point lead over Barcelona when they entertain local rivals Atletico at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

With the help of Opta, we look at the impressive numbers behind Los Blancos' miserly defence.

 

A sluggish start

It was not an ideal start for Zidane when he returned for a second stint as coach last March.

A 4-1 win over Real Valladolid was not enough for Santiago Solari to keep his job following back-to-back home defeats to Barcelona and a shock Champions League last-16 exit to Ajax.

Zidane struggled to find consistency in the closing stages of the season and only managed five wins in his 11 LaLiga games at the helm.

During that time frame, Madrid appeared to increasingly struggle defensively. They saw their average goals conceded per game rise from 1.19 to 1.27 and they faced 0.5 more shots per game (up to 4.09 from 3.59).

 

Tightening up

Madrid kept just three clean sheets under Zidane last season, but they are already up to 11 in 21 LaLiga games this term. That is one more than Atletico.

Having let in 14 goals as Zidane saw out the end of the 2018-19 campaign, they have improved dramatically with just 13 put past them this term – the fewest of any teams in the top five European leagues and their best record after 21 matches since 1988.

Madrid's expected goals conceded is 19.75, meaning they have let in 6.75 fewer than anticipated, highlighting some good work from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. The only teams in LaLiga with a better differential this season are Real Valladolid (-10.11) and Levante (-7.44), but they conceded more than Madrid at 24 and 32 respectively.

Greater defensive work has seen the number of shots Madrid are facing decrease from 9.91 per game under Zidane last term – and 10.24 across the whole campaign – to 8.48, a tally only Getafe (7.57) and Manchester City (7.63) have faced fewer than in the top five European leagues.

When only efforts that hit the target are taken into account, Madrid have been troubled by just 2.62 every 90 minutes this season – the lowest in the continent's leading divisions. Atletico face just 2.86 per match.

 

Attack as a form of defence?

Madrid have seen their average possession dip slightly since Zidane took over, but it has remained at just above 58 per cent under the Frenchman.

They are seemingly reaping the rewards of playing with greater intensity higher up the pitch – they have won possession in the final third 5.38 times per game this season, an increase from 4.09 in Zidane's first 11 games in charge.

Madrid are averaging more shots than any team in LaLiga at 17.89 per game, with 6.43 of those hitting the target – another league high.

Joao Felix appears set to miss Atletico Madrid's derby against Real Madrid after sustaining an unspecified muscle injury to his right leg.

The Portugal forward suffered the setback during Sunday's goalless draw against Leganes and was unable to train on Tuesday or Wednesday.

"Joao Felix suffered a muscle injury to his right leg during Sunday's match against Club Deportivo Leganes," read a club statement.

"Given the ongoing pain after the day of rest, the club's medical services have performed tests to diagnose the injury. He is pending response to treatment."

While no timescale has been put on a recovery, reports in Spain suggest the injury is not serious but he will miss Saturday's trip to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Joao Felix arrived at the Wanda Metropolitano in a €126million deal from Benfica in July.

The 20-year-old has endured mixed fortunes in Spain thus far, scoring twice and providing just one assist in 17 LaLiga appearances.

Atletico are fifth in the table, 10 points adrift of leaders and city rivals Madrid.

Barcelona have seemingly given up on their pursuit of Rodrigo, while Manchester United are finally getting their man.

LaLiga giants Barca are eyeing a forward with Luis Suarez set to miss most of the rest of the season due to a knee injury.

But while they reportedly targeted Rodrigo, their bid to land the Valencia forward appears over.

Meanwhile, a long-running saga is set to come to an end in Manchester.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA GIVE UP ON RODRIGO

'Rodrigo no' reads the cover of Sport, which reports Barcelona have stopped negotiations with Valencia for the forward.

The report says Barca cannot reach an economic agreement with Valencia, but are considering other options in their bid to sign a forward.

Rodrigo has scored just two goals in 18 LaLiga games for Valencia this season.

ROUND-UP

- It is finally set to be over. Bruno Fernandes' move from Sporting CP to Manchester United is practically done, according to Record. The Premier League club will pay £46.5million (€55m) for the midfielder, plus £8.5m (€10m) in add-ons with the potential for a further £12.7m (€15m).

- There could be some movement at Stamford Bridge in the coming days. AS reports Roma have made contact with Chelsea regarding Pedro, who has made just five Premier League appearances this season.

- Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are ready to launch bids for Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Lemar, according to The Sun. The LaLiga club want £51m (€60.3m) for the Frenchman.

- Also at Spurs, the Mirror reports Tottenham are set to sign PSV attacker Steven Bergwijn for £25.4m (€30m).

- Pablo Mari's move to Arsenal appears set to become official. Globo Esporte reports the Flamengo defender will join the Premier League club on loan until June, with his club receiving £4.2m (€5m) and Arsenal holding an option to make the move permanent.

Diego Simeone insists he will only try to win back support "through actions, not words" after another disappointing day for Atletico Madrid.

Beaten by third-tier Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey this week, Atleti were held to a 0-0 draw on Sunday at home to Leganes, a team that started the day bottom of LaLiga.

With no wins and just one goal from their past four games in all competitions, questions have been raised about whether Simeone's undoubtedly successful time in charge at the club could be coming to an end.

Defeat in the derby to Real Madrid next Saturday will only intensify calls for the head coach to leave, but Simeone is determined to show he can salvage Atleti's season.

"I can't say anything to the people [who do not have faith]," he told reporters. "All I can do is show them through actions, not words. Words mean nothing.

"I'm respectful with everybody. I was whistled because I wasn't doing well in my second spell at the club [as a player]. The fans are critical when the team doesn't win. And it's for me to find solutions to that.

"The first thing we need to do is to get back working. After that, I'll make my decisions based on what I feel is best for the team. We have a week to return to peace and calm, which is something you need in football.

"I have a great squad and a few lads are expected back from injury this week. On Saturday, we will be going out with the hope of winning the match."

Simeone refused to criticise the Wanda Metropolitano fans for their support on Sunday and stressed Atleti could have won the game had they shown a more clinical edge in the second half.

"The public get you going, they get involved and do their part in encouraging the team," he said. "We've just played two games away from home that didn't turn out well and the fans were good today.

"On other days, you can easily end up losing games like this. We could have won the game in the second half."

Atletico Madrid failed to bounce back from their Copa del Rey humiliation to Cultural Leonesa as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home by a Leganes side that began the day bottom of LaLiga.

The embarrassing Copa defeat to third-tier Cultural put Diego Simeone's future in question, with some suggesting Atletico have become stale under his guidance, and Sunday's insipid display did little to disprove such concerns.

Atletico did control the first half and created the better chances, with Leganes generally offering little going forward, but the hosts' frontline struggled to link up effectively.

They arguably struggled even more in the second period without the necessary cutting edge, as Leganes clung on to a point despite left-back Jonathan Silva playing the final minutes in goal after goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar was shown a second yellow for timewasting, which involved an altercation with a ball boy.

Although they were by no means impressive, Atletico did at least manage to have the better of the first half.

Angel Correa, enjoying something of a renaissance in recent weeks, should have done better just before the half-hour mark – slamming a volley over the crossbar after Renan Lodi's cross fell to him.

Alvaro Morata and Correa then went close a few minutes apart towards the end of the half, Cuellar producing smart saves from both to ease the pressure.

Leganes coped better after the interval and, although they sat deeper than before, they almost took the lead in the 66th minute as Recio's 25-yard strike crucially took a deflection to go just over.

The visitors escaped a penalty shout soon after when Vitolo went to ground after a mistimed challenge from Unai Bustinza, but the Atletico winger was adjudged to have manufactured the contact.

Felipe also felt he should have won a spot-kick in the final 10 minutes after a seemingly accidental trip by Roberto Rosales, but again Leganes escaped.

Cuellar put Leganes in a testing position late on when his gamesmanship, which saw him shoved by a ball boy, earned him a second booking and he then sparked several on-pitch altercations by taking his time leaving the field.

But his behaviour ultimately did not come back to cost Leganes.

Diego Simeone is determined to turn Atletico Madrid's fortunes around, explaining just how much the club means to him.

Simeone is enduring a tough spell at the Wanda Metropolitano, with Atleti losing their past three matches in all competitions heading into Sunday's LaLiga clash with Leganes.

Real Madrid saw off their city rivals in agonising circumstances in a Supercopa de Espana final penalty shoot-out, but Atleti then came unstuck against more modest opponents: Eibar in LaLiga and third-tier Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey.

Simeone insists the disappointing run of form does not come from a lack of interest on his behalf, though.

"I'm always thinking about my team," he told a pre-match news conference. "I don't think in the moments when we lose or when we win, but I always look after my team.

"Sometimes I can't sleep thinking about the line-up for a final or because we lost, or when I don't know which player to choose that will be better for the team.

"Atletico Madrid is my life - the people who know me know that. We will keep the same path, with enthusiasm and passion.

"We live in the present and we go match after match and nothing will change in my life. We've been doing it for a long time now."

Simeone accepts there was always likely to be a certain amount of criticism following recent results, but he retains belief in his side.

"It is clear that we are coming from two difficult defeats," he said. "All the criticism may seem fair, but I am convinced and I believe in my players.

"We have a great team with players who will respond to goals that we have set, and I do not change from match to match. We are convinced of what we want and we will not change in that sense.

"I understand and accept when the criticisms are fair and work accordingly to have a good game [on Sunday]."

Simeone still appears to have the support of Atleti fans, who launched a campaign showing their love for the coach on Twitter with the hashtag "#TeQueremosCholo".

"I had not seen it until the press people told me," Simeone said. "Everything natural like that is appreciated.

"It boosts the security and enthusiasm that I always have in the day-to-day at the club."

Atleti look set to be without defender Santiago Arias against Leganes after initial tests showed he suffered a muscle injury in his left thigh against Cultural.

Manchester United, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund are hoping to sign Juventus midfielder Emre Can.

Can, 26, is out of favour in Turin and has made just two Serie A starts this season.

The former Liverpool midfielder will reportedly be allowed to leave during this transfer window and three European giants are eyeing the Germany international.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD, TOTTENHAM AND DORTMUND EYE EMRE CAN

Manchester United, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund are chasing Juventus' Can, according to SPORT1.

With Euro 2020 coming up later this year, Can wants regular playing time to earn a spot in the Germany squad.

Can made 37 appearances in all competitions for Juve last season, but has played just eight times in 2019-20.

Sportmediaset reports Juve are working on a move for Napoli midfielder Allan to replace Can.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter will wrap up a deal for Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen early next week, according to Sky Sport Italia. The Serie A club will pay €18million (£15.2m) plus €2m (£1.7m) in bonuses for Eriksen, who is out of contract at season's end.

- Staying at San Siro and Inter are targeting Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud after recognising it would be difficult to sign Napoli's Fernando Llorente, according to Sky Sport Italia.

- Barcelona are making progress in their bid to land Valencia forward Rodrigo, according to Sport. While working on a loan move, Barcelona want an option to buy at season's end, while Valencia want it to be an obligation to purchase for around €60m. The report says Barca are willing to pay Valencia a "penalty fee" if they do not make the loan permanent.

- Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Lemar is close to signing with Premier League club Arsenal, according to El Chiringuito. Lemar has made just nine LaLiga starts this season.

- Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are in talks over a swap deal. Goal reports the clubs are discussing swapping full-backs Mattia De Sciglio and Layvin Kurzawa.

- With Marcus Rashford injured, Manchester United have looked at signing Shanghai Shenhua's Odion Ighalo and Monaco's Islam Slimani, who is on loan from Leicester City, according to Sky Sports.

Diego Simeone insists his desire cannot be doubted despite Atletico Madrid's dismal early Copa del Rey exit and is confident the team will soon return to form.

Atleti were the victims of a major upset on Thursday, crashing out to third-tier Cultural Leonesa 2-1 in the last 32.

Simeone's side have now lost their past three matches in all competitions, with just six wins in 17 in LaLiga games since early September.

But the coach says he will continue to knuckle down, just as he battled on after a pair of Champions League final defeats to rivals Real Madrid, and backed his side to turn the corner.

"I have the desire to work like every day since I arrived," he told reporters.

"The penalties or the extra time in the Champions League didn't change me, nor will going out in this round.

"I have an important squad and results will come soon."

He added: "You are in the position to have an opinion on what you feel and we don't have the choice but to work, me and my players," he said.

"We couldn't be clinical in front of goal - that's football - and when you can't score, everything is more difficult."

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