Simeone has 'great affection' for Solari

Diego Simeone says he has a "great affection" for Real Madrid's temporary head coach Santiago Solari.

Following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui after last weekend's 5-1 Clasico thrashing against Barcelona, Solari was installed as a temporary replacement.

Solari led Madrid to a 4-0 Copa del Rey victory away to Melilla in his first match in charge and he will oversee Saturday's home LaLiga game with Real Valladolid.

Simeone briefly coached Solari during his time in charge of San Lorenzo and he welcomed Madrid's decision to give the Castilla coach the top job on a temporary basis.

"We had a very good relationship at the end of his career in San Lorenzo," Simeone told a news conference on Friday.

"I have great memories, a great affection. As a person, I want to wish him the best."

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Atletico Madrid travel to Leganes on Saturday seeking to extend a run of seven matches without defeat in LaLiga.

But Simeone is assessing attacking options including Thomas Lemar, Nikola Kalinic and Gelson Martins with Koke and Diego Costa both injury doubts, while captain Diego Godin has also missed training this week.

"When we form a group it is to compete and we understand that during the season there are always situations that have to be solved in a better way and that is why the team and the structure that supports the work are there," Simeone said.

"I do not know if they've seen or played Gelson a lot. Gelson is an attacker who can play on either side. Like [Antoine] Griezmann when he arrived. The players have some characteristics that they try to exploit.

"We believe that he can give us opportunities through the wings and the centre. Kalinic is growing and we are looking at some options with Lemar behind Griezmann."

Atletico have been given a welcome boost with defender Jose Gimenez given medical clearance after he sustained a thigh injury against Villarreal last month.

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