Diego Simeone hopes Diego Costa and Vitolo’s extra firepower can inspire Atletico Madrid to greater heights before the end of the season.
Costa and Vitolo could line-up with Antoine Griezmann for the first time when Atleti host Sevilla in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final on Wednesday.
An all-action second debut for Costa in Atletico colours ended with his receiving a second yellow card for celebrating in the crowd after scoring against Getafe, while Griezmann was rested in the previous round of the Copa against Lleida Esportiu as Vitolo made his bow for Los Rojiblancos.
A FIFA player registration ban meant a delay over Costa and Vitolo’s introduction, but Simeone’s men still find themselves as the closest challengers to Barcelona in La Liga following Real Madrid’s collapse in form.
“The squad until December came together, making a great start to the season, especially in the league,” Simeone told a pre-match news conference.
“The arrival of Costa and Vitolo empowers the group and gives us many more alternatives.
“Having them in this game gives us some possibilities.”
— Diego Costa (@diegocosta) January 6, 2018
Sevilla have taken one point from their past five matches in LaLiga and have new coach Vincenzo Montella bedding into the role.
Nevertheless, Simeone is wary of the club’s formidable cup pedigree at home and abroad over recent seasons.
“Sevilla are a cup team and have always done impressive things [in the Copa],” he said.
“They have been hurt from their recent results, but they are a wonderful team and they are very dangerous, especially from the midfield and forwards.
“We will have to take the match to where we feel most comfortable. On paper the match against them is the most competitive [of the quarter-finals] and we have to pay attention to a team that has such good players.”
Atletico have won six games in succession at the Wanda Metropolitano and Simeone feels his players and their supporters are becoming increasingly attuned to their new home.
“We have a wonderful stadium, maybe the best in the world, and day by day people are closer to us and participate more,” he added.
“We also feel more comfortable game by game and we feel it as our own stadium, which will lead to better things.”