Atletico Madrid manager, Diego Simeone, has cast doubt over his team’s ability to retain their La Liga title.
The Argentinian has claimed that his team can’t compete with Real Madrid and Barcelona financially and that he will be fighting for third place this season.
“Atlético are the champions, but the players are not the same. We are in a different league to Barcelona and Madrid,” he told AS in an interview about the season to come.
“We are putting the finishing touches on forming a squad; the team has changed, above all in attack. I see it as starting from scratch because the team is different.
"Mandzukic, Jiménez and Griezmann are different players than Costa, Villa and Adrián. We have held on to the solid base on which the team is built, but we are looking for the style that best fits what we have. We have to be patient.”
When asked about the €100 million spent on players in the transfer, Simeone argued that it could only be done because of the transfer fees received for the likes of Diego Costa and Filipe Luis.
“The money spent on new players is a direct result of other players being sold," he added
He concluded the interview with his thoughts on Atletico’s development since his arrival at the club.
“I arrived at Atleti at Christmas 2011 and in the second half of the season we brought in Diego Costa; one player. In the second season, again just one new signing: David Villa. This year we have made four changes.
"We do not have a (financial) structure that permits us to spend 80 million on one player; we’ve spent almost 100 million on everybody. Messi, Neymar and Suárez are three of the five best players in the world, and Real Madrid have brought in James and Toni Kroos. Bale is much stronger now. They have made improvements over last year.
“It’s understandable people want to repeat the success of last season but it has to be remembered that we hadn’t won a league title in 18 years. It’s not something that’s there be won every year.”
Simeone’s Atletico Madrid face Real Madrid in the second-leg of the Spanish Supercup tonight before taking on Real Vallecano in the first match of their title defence on Sunday.
Do you think Atletico can repeat their success in La Liga this season? Have your say in the comments section below.