Beautiful: "Whoever thinks I am a soft defender has seen me little"

The defense has settled in the eleven of Atlético taking advantage of the absences of Giménez and Savic, although in this break he has the spike nailed of not having gone with the National Team.

— In August he already chatted with AS, but he was still a newcomer to Atlético. What has changed in these months?

— I still have the same idea as when I made the decision to come to Atlético. I see from the inside that it is a team and a club that closely resembles what I sensed, that union between the players, the people who are part of the entity, the fans ... From the outside it looked enviable, when you approach and watch a game in the stadium, how people cheer and players fight for each other. The feeling of unity encouraged me even more to come. And there is a demand and growth that makes great players want to come.

— Talk about demand. Do you notice that the criticism is very strong and that a bad result is punished? Is it excessive?

— Many people from outside and many journalists understand that Atlético must win as much as possible and it is compared to the greats. It is good, it forces us to demand and improve, to be ambitious and that will make us grow.

— For example, why does the team perform better in the second parts? What is spoken in the locker room?

— They are football situations. Teams study you more and more and hurt you, they are very competitive. It's complicated and in a game there are many moments. The positive part is that we have the power to change because we have realized that something is not working as it should, it is important to know how to respond to adversity, but the ideal would be to do it well at the beginning.

— But does the group realize in the field? It happened, without going too far, in the Pizjuán.

— Yes, they are things that must be corrected and adjusted. With our idea and what we propose during the week, we must know how to apply it.

— And on an individual level, he has put five straight games in the eleven ...

— Very happy. The player feels happy when he plays and participates. They are practically the first games that I play at the highest level with Atlético, linked, in Europe… As long as I adapt like this, it will be good for everyone.

— Do you feel that it is the opportunity that you expected and that you are taking advantage of it?

— Yes, I think so. It is a bit unpleasant because it comes from a partner's injury, but our job is to be ready. I try to do my best and let the coach know that I am here, like when I came. He has one more footballer to count on him.

— It has coincided with Savic, with Giménez and with Felipe. Are you already getting to know them?

— Each one has its own characteristics. But as we work with the same idea, we adapt well. I suppose that during the year we will have to change the central pair frequently, so we know that we have to engage with everyone.

— And in addition to being central, what does it look like on the left side?

— It's a position I've played in, but it's not that I like it very much, really. I know that there are always needs in the team and where I have to play for the benefit of the group I will. If it touches me sideways or wherever, I'll be there. Sometimes you have to sacrifice

— But years ago he played even in the center of the field, right?

— Yes, it has been my evolution. First extreme, then lateral and now central. It goes in the moment and then the trainers think that you can be more useful in one position or another. In my case, I think it has worked.

— So if you are given a choice, center left.

— Definitely

— And how about Simeone? For a defense it is a challenge ...

— He has shown that he is one of the best coaches, but the best, in what he knows, for the team to compete, to face, to know how to work in blocks and with all the pieces involved. But not only those who play, but the twenties are convinced and believe in the master and his idea. It is a reference

— Normally his good touch of the ball is valued. Is it considered a soft central?

— Whoever considers me soft doesn't know me and little has seen me play. Some of the aspects that I feel as virtues are going strong to the divided balls, going well to the covers, covering the spaces, always trying to contain those mismatches that exist. Yes, perhaps the touch or a long pass attracts more attention, but they are complements that make a player more important. But I believe that the coach brings me because I am a good defender; if not, it would not be here

— Did you feel when you arrived at Atlético that you were going to be required more for your Real Madrid past?

— I didn't think so. The past is there, but when you come to a big one you already know that you are going to have to give a little more because you are new, you are in the process of adaptation and people do not know you. But not for having been in Madrid. I have to show why I can have a place here and that I want to be important in the club and in the National Team.

— I understand that this is your other great challenge of the course: return to the National Team and go to the European Championship.

— Yes, representing your country is very beautiful and important for a career. But there are more and more players that the coach can count on and that is good for the team. We see that players from many clubs go, it is open beyond the Atleti, Madrid, Barça and some more ... The coach does not marry anyone and wants performance.

— Yes, it seems that Ramos's central office is one of the open positions…

— There is a lot of competition and that is appreciated by the coach. I work to be on that list of 23. It is a challenge that I already had in Espanyol, which seemed almost incredible and I was lucky to go to four calls, and is still very present.

— Returning to Atlético, another blow has come in the form of an injury. How does Diego Costa's discharge affect

— It's disgusting. A partner's injury is a shame, because he stops doing what he likes. Diego is a very important player, he is ambitious and has that character that infects and solves matches. You change the image, as happened in Seville for example. He knows that we are with him and that we are already waiting for him.

— The last date was against Espanyol, who seems to miss him. How do you see it?

— They are in three competitions and that is not easy, it costs even those who have been at that level for many years. Last season we also had some bad time and were able to turn it around and enter Europe. It is a challenge and surely they will turn it around because they have great players and great people. I am very optimistic, they will be out of

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