Diego Simeone believes the form of Kevin Gameiro has softened the blow of failing to secure Diego Costa's signature in pre-season.
Atletico Madrid were desperate to bring Costa in ahead of the 2016-17 campaign, but the striker remained with Chelsea and has helped them climb to the top of the Premier League.
Simeone did manage to acquire Gameiro from Sevilla and the France international has repaid him with 14 goals in all competitions – a tally the Atletico boss expects to rise.
"For me it is what I imagined from him, he has 14 goals and I expect even more," Simeone told AS.
"I think he has been better in games than just his goals, because he has 15 assists. He gives us speed, keeps the ball, good interplay and works well with [Antoine] Griezmann.
"It gives us a chance to attack with Gameiro-Griezmann and teams know they cannot leave space."
Asked if Costa's arrival would have improved the fortunes of his side, who sit fourth in LaLiga and will face Leicester City in the Champions League quarter-finals, Simeone said: "It could have been something better, or worse.
"He's doing great at Chelsea and he's probably a key to what's happening to the team.
"Atletico tried everything [to sign Costa], but in England there is no cancellation clause. Diego did his best to come.
"We were always transparent with [Gameiro] in relation to Costa. He knows he was the first choice if Costa did not arrive."
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