Atletico Coach Simeone Hails Ronaldo-less Real Madrid Ahead Derby Clash

Atletico Madrid manager, Diego Simeone, believes Real Madrid have handled the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo very well despite slipping to a 3-0 defeat against Sevilla ahead of the clash with his side.

The European champions suffered their first LaLiga defeat of the season at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Wednesday, conceding three first-half goals without reply to bring a run of four wins from five league matches to an end.

The result means Simeone’s side, who beat Huesca 3-0 on Tuesday, go into the Madrid derby on Saturday evening just two points behind their rivals, and the Atleti coach expects a difficult game against Julen Lopetegui’s new-look team.

Julen Lopetegui has utilised Isco, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio in attack in recent weeks, and Simeone feels Madrid have maintained their “vertical” style of football in the wake of Ronaldo’s €100million transfer to Juventus in the close season.

“Apart from their last game, where they faced a complicated opponent in Sevilla, who are not easy to compete against, I see a vertical Madrid,” Simeone told reporters.

“Asensio and Bale have a change of pace, [Toni] Kroos, [Luka] Modric and [Sergio] Ramos have good vision of the game and they combine well with [Dani] Ceballos and Isco.

“Ronaldo’s absence has been handled very well by Madrid. On the other hand, I do not give importance to the form of each team.”

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