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THE SPORTING DIRECTOR REVIEWS ATLÉTICO’S CURRENT NEWS TWO MONTHS AWAY FROM THE END OF THE SEASON

Caminero: "There is only the next game for us, nothing else"

He points out the importance of the agreement closed last week with Simeone until 2020 and the goal to qualify each season for the Champions League to maintain competitiveness against other clubs with larger budgets.

Jose Luis Perez Caminero goes over Atlético’s current news, marked by the recent renewal of the coach, Diego Pablo Simeone, until 2020. Our Sporting Director does not hesitate to underline this agreement as one of the most important and critical ones of the last few seasons.

- The Club and the coach are strongly betting on this project…

- Both Diego and the Club were in the same understanding and when both parties want something, it is much easier to agree. We are delighted with the work that he and his team have been developing since they arrived in December 2011. He has managed to make the players aware that together as a group they can achieve every kind of goal and they have. He also values very positively the efforts the Club is making to continue to grow, so the communion between both was perfect and it was only a matter of time to seal the deal we presented last week.

- Simeone always stresses that growth of the Club as something crucial for its continuity.

Simeone appreciates the work being done in the entity to increase our competitiveness

- As I mentioned before, he values the work performed in the entity to increase our competitiveness. Simeone knows our Club perfectly, he feels it as his own, he carries it inside of him, so it’s logical he wants to help us grow. But it is also a born winner and therefore appreciates that continued growth which our Club has been experiencing in the last few seasons and that has led him to commit until 2020.

- To continue this upward trend, it is important to qualify for the next edition of the Champions League...

- Not important, essential. We have never hidden that our great goal is to be among the first three qualified at the end of the League because participating repeatedly in the top European competition is what allows you to maintain that level of competitiveness with entities with a much bigger budget. We have been playing the Champions League quarter-finals for two consecutive seasons and we aspire to continue on that path.

- This season, there is greater competition for the positions that give access to the Champions League. There are ten huge rounds left, right?

- In addition to Barcelona and Real Madrid, Valencia, which is not playing the European competition and can enjoy more time to prepare for matches, and Sevilla are very strong. But we're also strong. The team competes well in every match and we cannot think of anything else other than the next game against Córdoba. We always face every game as if it were a final and, even though there are ten rounds left, we are only thinking about the next game at El Nuevo Arcángel, only on those three points in play.

- And speaking of the Champions League, a Madrid derby in the quarter-finals. What can be expected from this confrontation?

- We already discussed when the draw resulted in this matchup that will be hard-fought. But I insist that we do not leave the path that has served us so well. We must only think of Córdoba, there will be time to talk of the Champions League quarter-finals. Right now, our only thoughts are on winning the next game.

- Even though there are two months of competition left, the sporting management works throughout the season with their minds also set on the upcoming campaign. One of their jobs is monitoring the players loaned to other clubs, what assessment can we make at this point in the season? 

All the players loaned until the 30th of June will return to our discipline at the end of the season and we will decide what is best for all

- Indeed, our coaches follow a detailed monitoring of all the players that are loaned to other teams. We are very pleased with their performance and growth in general. Óliver and Alderweireld, for example, are finishing a very good season with Porto and Southampton and we are counting on them for the next campaign. Borja Bastón is having a great year with Zaragoza, scoring many goals. Leo Baptistão and Insua in Rayo are also enjoying the minutes they need, like Thomas in Almeria, who needed to play games in the first division to continue growing. The same thing is happening with Velázquez in Getafe, who is consolidating in the centre of the defence in his first year in Europe. Bounou, Cristian Rodríguez and Rubén Pérez have had more problems in their loans, but are also playing frequently. In any case, all the players loaned until the 30th of June will return to our discipline at the end of the season and we will decide what is best for all.

- And thinking about that future pre-season, it seems that the fate of the usual summer tour points to Asia...

- Yes, pending the confirmation of some organizational details and closing all the matches to be played, the pre-season tour will be carried out on Asian lands, a very important market for our Club and where we want their fans to have as much direct contact as possible with our players and coaches. In this tour, the team will enjoy the best facilities to prepare for the tough competition that awaits us and at the same time we will bring the Atlético de Madrid brand to an audience that is crucial to the entity in our international expansion policy.

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