Simeone backs current stars to beat Atletico old boys

Diego Simeone has backed his current players to outperform the former Atletico Madrid stars who will turn out for Benfica at the Vicente Calderon in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Portuguese side have four ex Atletico players amongst their ranks; Raul Jimenez, Pizzi, Silvio Pereira and Eduardo Salvio all moved to Benfica directly from Madrid.

Simeone picked out Jimenez as a particular threat, saying: "Raul Jimenez played only a little for us, but he was an example of professionalism.

"Jimenez is a very dangerous striker. I also wish all the best to Toto Salvio for the friend that he is. He has given everything and has worked for our club.

"We wish the best to all our former players."

Simeone has seen his charges lose two of their last five games, but he will hope they can maintain their 100 per cent record in European competition this season as they take on Benfica.

Simeone backed striker Jackson Martinez to hit form despite the Colombian's slow start to life at the Vicente Calderon.

After seven games in all competitions, Martinez has just one goal to his name and that came almost a month ago, in the last five minutes of Atletico's straightforward 3-0 win at Sevilla.

Martinez was substituted after just 45 minutes of Atletico's 1-0 defeat at Villareal in their previous outing, but Simeone urged supporters to be patient with the club's close-season signing.

"Taking time to adapt to a new club is normal. Jackson will get goals in the coming months," he said.

Atletico's Portuguese midfielder Tiago, who used to play for Benfica, also backed Martinez to come good, saying: "Jackson is learning how to play in our system, which isn't easy for forwards.

"For us the strikers aren't just about goals. All the work they do is very important.

"It is very different to what he did at Porto. Therefore, we need to be patient because he is going to help us a lot."


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