IANS

Atletico coach says striker Costa ready for Girona

Madrid, Dec 2 (IANS) Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone on Saturday asserted that striker Diego Costa is ready for the upcoming away game against Girona in La Liga.

Costa missed the recent 2-0 win against Monaco in the UEFA Champions League because of problems with an old bone injury in his right foot, but is expected to start against Girona on Sunday despite also spraining his left ankle in practice on Saturday, reports Efe news.

“Today (Costa) is available, he is enthusiastic, with the same desire as always and hopefully tomorrow he can have a good match,” Simeone said at a press conference.

The coach did not say whether the club’s medical staff had decided to try surgery on Costa’s fifth metatarsal bone, or stick with the current, more conservative treatment approach.

Simeone also has only three defenders available for Sunday: Santiago Arias, Stefan Savic and Lucas Hernandez, as his other four are sidelined.

The coach said he was considering utilizing midfielder Saul Ñiguez in a few different positions, and based on Saturday’s training, may relocate the versatile midfielder to left-back, with Lucas and Savic in the middle.

Simeone praised Girona and its new coach Eusebio Sacristan in his debut campaign, saying “Tomorrow we will face a team that plays well, with a coach that has found his footballers’ best traits.”

Atletico Madrid is third in the La Liga standings with 24 points, just two points behind leader Sevilla and one point behind second-placed Barcelona, while Girona is in seventh place with 20 points.

–IANS
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