Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone and pay per head sportsbooks hope to see his side cope without injured striker Diego Costa.
The La Liga leaders will be without Costa’s services on Saturday’s home clash with Villarreal after the player suffered a hamstring injury in their UEFA Champions League draw with Barcelona, concerning many fans and pay per head sportsbooks.
Simeone said that late in the season, injuries were to be expected, but the manager hopes that his side will be able to find the answers without a player who was able to score 25 league goals this campaign, and price per head services wonder how his side will perform without him.
“It’s normal. This is football and players are not machines,” he said.
“We’re not going to make any excuses because we’re delighted to be doing what we do. We are a team and we have to find solutions as a team.
“Barcelona and Madrid might have more players in reserve but neither of them have two Cristianos (Cristiano Ronaldos) or two Messis (Lionel Messis).”
Pay per head sportsbooks know that the Argentine is very cautious of a Villarreal side that are sitting on seventh place and looking for a UEFA Europa League place this season.
Simeone said that fatigue would play no part even though on Tuesday his side played their quarter-final first leg against Barca.
“The lads have all recovered and we’ve got tonight to rest,” Simeone said.
“Tomorrow’s game is an important one for us, against a difficult rival who play a positional game similar to ourselves and have a variety of combinations to their game from midfield to attack.”
Even though Costa is missing, Diego may get a rare start at the Vicente Calderon.
The 29-year-old Brazilian attacker who’s a favourite with pay per head sportsbooks came on against Barca for Costa, and Simeone was very happy by the former Werder Bremen and Juventus player.
“I’m really happy with how Diego is progressing. It’s normal that after spending two years away from us, he’s found it hard to reclaim his place,” Simeone said.
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“You cannot be a competitive side with eight top class players – you need at least 11 and if we find ourselves in that position now it’s because of the players who are waiting in the background and who have had less opportunities.”