Diego Simeone says he is unfazed by the prospect of turning around Atletico Madrid’s faltering season after being formally unveiled as their new coach.
The former Argentina captain was named as the replacement for the sacked Gregorio Manzano on Friday, signing a contract until the end of the 2012/13 campaign.
Simeone was presented to the media at the Vicente Calderon stadium today and immediately outlined his plans for a club he served with distinction in two spells as a player between 1994 and 2005.
“I always had it as an objective to return to Atletico as coach,” Simeone told a press conference. “I’m going to bring the work ethic and enthusiasm I have always had. The responsibility is enormous but it does not scare me. It excites me. I have always risen to challenges and this is another one.”
Simeone’s first task after being confirmed as Atletico’s 11th coach in 10 years will be to arrest a run of form that has seen the club lose three of their last four matches in the league and crash out of the Copa del Rey.
His first match in charge will be against Malaga in the Primera Division on January 7, by which time he hopes to have impressed upon his players a little of the aggression he displayed during his career as an uncompromising midfield enforcer.
“I like an aggressive team. I want to see a team that is strong, committed and quick on the break,” he said. “These are things which Atletico fans have always liked, it helps them identify with and love this shirt. Atletico always demands the very best, but all I am thinking about is Malaga,”