Diego Simeone faced the press ahead of the derby against Real Madrid, where he highlighted the quality of his city rivals.
In typical Cholo fashion, the Argentine shunned questions about either off-field or non-footballing matters and was interested only in the game on Saturday.
“I think that Real Madrid have very good players and when they take advantage of the spaces they are tough to defend against,” he responded, despite the question being on what he thought of Barcelona’s 300-euro fine for approaching Antoine Griezmann before his transfer to the club.
“Bale is growing, Benzema is in fine form and Hazard has great qualities,” he added, independently of the initial question.
Asked who were favourites, Simeone felt that there was very little in it, though he did note Madrid’s recent improvement.
“These types of matches are tight and are defined by details which sway the game to one side or another.
“Real Madrid improved a lot in Seville, and continued in that way against Osasuna even when they made changes. I imagine they will continue on that path,” he stated.
Despite the absence of Luka Modric in midfield, Simeone feels his opponents are still more than capable without him.
“Madrid have a very strong backbone, and maintain the potential they have as a team.
“Casemiro and Benzema are very important players.
“Madrid have improved a lot, have great players and a great coach, we will have to perform very well to make the game difficult for them.”
When asked which he would prefer between winning the Champions League or the derby, Simeone’s response was typical of the Argentine coach.