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Simeone underlines Koke importance ahead of midfielder's return

Diego Simeone has underlined the importance of Koke to Atletico Madrid ahead of the midfielder's return to action at Real Sociedad.

The midfielder has been on the sidelines since Atletico's 2-0 win at Eibar last month, having picked up a hamstring injury in that game.

But he is poised to make his comeback at the Stadium as Atletico - who are three points behind La Liga leaders Villarreal - aim to avoid a third straight game without a win.

Speaking in his pre-match media conference, Simeone said: "He's fine. He's excited and eager to play again and he'll obviously be a starter. Koke is an extremely important player for us.

"He can play in different positions. He's the link between the attack and defence and the midfield. He gives us tactical and technical possibilities that make him a decisive player."

Simeone is pleased with where his team stands in the table, particularly as he believes they have plenty of room to make strides in the coming weeks.

He added: "I think we're OK. It's important to keep growing. I think the best thing we have is that there is a great scope for improvement and that we need to improve.

"That depends on me, on making good choices in the continuity of the players."