Diego Simeone retains huge respect from Atletico Madrid’s tight-knit squad and experienced striker Fernando Torres hopes the head coach remains in his post for some time.
Simeone cast doubt on his long-term future with Atleti by shortening his contract in the aftermath of the sapping shoot-out loss to Real Madrid in the 2016 Champions League final.
It means the 47-year-old’s contract now expires at the end of the forthcoming campaign – Atletico’s first at their new Wanda Metropolitano home – as opposed to in 2020.
Nevertheless, Torres maintains his boss retains the same unflinching focus in his work that has helped the capital club become an unlikely heavyweight of European football during his tenure.
“Everybody knows what he is expecting from us, everybody,” Torres told Omnisport.
“He is very good at communicating to everybody what he wants – the tactics, about the team, about the individual, about everything.
“I think he is very happy here and he wants to stay more time, that’s very important for the players.
“Hopefully we can keep the key players, we can keep the manager and that will show everybody that we want to do better and we want more.
“He’s very intense. You remember him as a player, he’s very similar as a coach. He wants everybody to stay focused in training, in meetings, on our travels – all the time.
“He is very clever. He knows we need this intensity to be able to compete against teams who are much better than us. He is showing that the way he is training is being effective.
“We are competing with these kind of teams. All we have to do is follow him because he has shown the world he is a good leader for us.”
Torres was on target as Atletico’s battling qualities made a pre-season appearance in Munich on Tuesday, with Simeone’s men turning around a 1-0 deficit to beat Napoli 2-1 in the Audi Cup.
The 33-year-old, who is set to face former club Liverpool in Wednesday’s final at the Allianz Arena, feels it is important that competitive edge is to the fore in the opening weeks of the season so any notion of a FIFA transfer ban hindering Atleti can be laid to rest.
“We know this season is even more difficult because we have this FIFA ban that we can’t sign players,” he said.
“It is a good chance for everybody to show that the team is good enough. We were playing in the Champions League semi-final last season so we have to think that this season we can do better.