15 August 2014 07:29
Despite a raft of changes in the close-season, goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya believes Atletico Madrid are just as strong as last season.
Moya is one of many new faces at the Vicente Calderon for the 2014-15 La Liga campaign but the former Getafe gloveman remains convinced Atleti coach Diego Simeone will turn his rebuilt squad into a well-oiled machine just like the team that won the Spanish title last season.
Simeone has brought in eight new players, while Atletico have seen 12 players leave, including key figures such as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, lead striker Diego Costa, left-back Filipe Luis (all to Chelsea), plus forwards David Villa (New York City) and Adrian (Porto).
But speaking at a media conference on Thursday, Moya attempted to allay Atleti supporters’ fears that the new squad will be vastly inferior this season.
“The idea of the team is very well ingrained, the backbone of the team is still here and the concepts are very clear,” the 30-year-old said.
Moya added that Atletico would remain a hard-working, counter-attacking side: “The strong defence is one of the team’s characteristics. Other than the strength, there are practically no cracks in the team; the rival’s chances are pretty slim.”
With Courtois ending his three-year loan stint in Spain and set to finally debut for parent club Chelsea this season, Simeone has signed two goalkeepers – Moya and Jan Oblak from Benfica – in an effort to find a new number one man between the posts.
But Moya claimed the inherent rivalry between the pair remains friendly and benefits them both.
“The good vibes with Oblak can be felt every day,” he said.
“Jan has come back in good shape, eager, with intensity, with strength and from close by I see he’s doing well. The rivalry will be healthy and clean.
“Every day, you can feel our good atmosphere and good vibes.”
Atletico thrashed Wolfsburg 5-1 on Sunday in their penultimate pre-season friendly and they will complete their preparations with a game against third-tier club Cadiz on Friday.
Simeone’s side will then look ahead to the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana versus city rivals Real Madrid on Tuesday.