Atletico Madrid Boss Says Joao Felix Will Grow Despite Being a Reserve

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is confident Joao Felix will continue to improve his all-around game as he backed the young forward to thrive in a more reserved position.

The Portugal international scored twice in an impressive display to rescue his side a 3-2 win against Salzburg in Tuesday’s Champions League clash.

At 20 years and 352 days, he became the second-youngest player to score a brace for Atletico in the Champions League after Sergio Aguero (20 years, 106 days) against PSV in September 2008.

He has started five games for Atleti in all competitions this term and been used just off the main striker Luis Suarez in each of them, scoring three times in total.

Diego Simeone confident Joao Felix will grow despite playing in a reserved position
Joao Felix scored twice in his side’s 3-2 win over RB Salzburg on Tuesday

Some have questioned whether Simeone’s system can get the best out of the young talent, suggesting he needs greater freedom to thrive, but the Atleti head coach insists it is always about putting the team first.

Speaking at a pre-match news conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Osasuna, Simeone said:

I have made it clear what we need from Joao. There is room for his game to grow.

“He played a very good game against Granada and Huesca, against Villarreal and in the last minutes versus Celta Vigo, plus two games for Portugal.

“But I don’t understand what it means by more freedom. Freedom is not about playing anywhere you want. Important players always give for the team, regardless of the position.”