Simeone fears hell from Mel

By Joe Wright 1 March 2017 173
Simeone fears hell from Mel

Diego Simeone expects Atletico Madrid to be given a stern test when they take on Pepe Mel's Deportivo La Coruna on Thursday.

Mel succeeded Gaizka Garitano as head coach at the Riazor this week and will face last season's Champions League finalists in his first LaLiga match in charge.

Deportivo have not won a game in 2017 and a run of four league defeats in a row has seen them drop to 17th, two points above the relegation zone.

Atletico are looking to respond to their 2-1 home defeat to Barcelona last Sunday and keep their top-four hopes intact, but Simeone expects Deportivo to be highly motivated to impress their new boss.

"It's difficult when there is a new coach," he said. "The player who has played less feels he has the chance to get taken more into account.

"I'm expecting an enthusiastic team. They have good footballers like [Emre] Colak and [Florin] Andone, who are quick and complement each other. 

"The points they have don't reflect the way they have played.

"The players and the coach are always the same. We have to be be mentally balanced: not too happy when we win, nor in a very bad state when things don't go as we wished."

Simeone's side won the reverse fixture 1-0 in September. 

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Joe Wright