Simeone: Wish Messi and Neymar could play
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says he hopes Barcelona field both Leo Messi and Neymar in Wednesday night’s Supercopa second leg at the Camp Nou.
• Tomas: Neymar demands starting spot
Meanwhile Neymar has yet to start a competitive match for Barca, despite impressing as a substitute in the club’s first three games of the season, including when scoring the equaliser at last Wednesday’s game at Atletico’s Estadio Vicente Calderon.
Atletico fans might be forgiven for hoping that both Barca’s South American attackers sat out the return match, but the Colchoneros boss told reporters at his pre-game press conference that he was not particularly concerned who played.
"I hope Messi and Neymar play for the good of the spectacle," Simeone said. "Barca have many good players, and their coach decides who plays."
Atletico’s abrasive style in the first leg caused Gerardo Martino’s side plenty of problems, and Simeone said a similar approach was likely on Wednesday night.
"We will stay the same, not changing anything," he said. "The tie remains open, but playing in their pitch and with their characteristics, they will be the protagonists again. Without breaking our structure will have to look for alternatives. There are different ways to win. With our arms we want to have the chance to carry off the Supercopa."
‘El Cholo’ would not be drawn on potential transfer business at Atletico before the summer window shuts -- which could include exits for defender Martin Demichelis and forward Adrian Lopez, as well as the long hoped for arrival of a new No. 10 at the Calderon.
"What I see and what the [club’s current] players show is that they are only thinking about winning," he said. "Everyone is committed, we are just thinking about tomorrow's game."
But the Argentine did suggest that he would prefer Spain’s showpiece season opening fixture to be decided in one game, at a neutral venue, as generally happens in other countries.
"I would like in future for the Supercopa to be one game," Simeone said. "We are playing a final, in our opponents' ground, and I hope we are up to the task."