Maxi Rodriguez believes that the absence of players appearing in the Under-20 World Cup will hinder Atletico de Madrid, but otherwise he thinks that the team is in good shape.
The Argentine is helping Los Colchoneros prepare for their visit to Camp Nou on Saturday, when they take on Barcelona in a game that they need to perform well in to restore confidence.
Goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo and Alvaro Dominguez could be key absentees ahead of a period that will test whether Atletico have the mettle to sustain a top four challenge and remain in Europe.
“Things are going to be tough with the temporary departures of Asenjo and Dominguez, but other than that the squad is the same as last year," Maxi was quoted as saying by the club's official website.
"A few players have arrived, Leo [Franco] left and Asenjo arrived, [John] Heitinga left and Juanito came. The squad is more or less the same, besides, that’s what there is. We have to push forward with what we have until the end of May, so excuses aren’t worth anything now.
"We have this team, and it’s the one with which we have to play as well as possible. A big club has to have the highest of aspirations, so that’s what we’re left with."
After picking up one point from their opening two matches, the pressure is on Atletico to bounce back, but doing so against Barcelona will be no mean feat.
“We have to pay attention to not falling off the pace in La Liga, so this weekend could be key," he continued.
"We have to try and get as many wins as we can in the forthcoming league fixtures and also on the next Champions matchday.
"Above all, we have to focus and keep our heads about us in this match against Barcelona, which is the only thing we’re thinking about right now."
Lucas Brown, Goal.com