Simeone: Cerci interest compliments Atletico

Diego Simeone took the positives out of the speculation surrounding Alessio Cerci, claiming it confirms Atletico Madrid is a great team.

The Argentinean manager did not pass comment on Cerci's situation, other than to claim the rumours were compliments to the La Liga champions.

Right winger Cerci is yet to start for Atletico in the Spanish top flight since his off-season switch from Torino, making just four substitute appearances and tallying 78 league minutes.

Simeone was seemingly unperturbed by the talk the Italian was keen to head home to the Serie A, while also acknowledging links to the Premier League.

"I know what the newspapers say. Manchester United, Inter and Arsenal want Cerci. I am the coach and I haven't given him opportunities to play," Simeone said.

"Obviously, Atletico Madrid is a great team. 

"We sold [Martin] Demichelis in a pre-season without playing and I think that if Cerci, who hasn't played, gets offers from three big teams, [it makes one] remember Atletico Madrid is a great team."

Simeone said he was not snubbing the likes of Cerci due to a lack of confidence, rather he was trying to find the winning combination - with Atletico slipping four points behind leaders Real Madrid after a last-start loss to Real Sociedad.

"It is not [a] question of confidence. A coach always thinks about the team," Simeone added.

"And it is very difficult when you have Cerci, [Antoine] Griezmann, Raul Garcia, Raul Jimenez, and [Mario] Mandzukic who all want to play. 

"It is complicated, and some of have to be left out. The coach has to decide who plays and who doesn't. 

"It is not about confidence, it is simply about what the necessity [is] to win the games."