Costa in ‘fantastic form’ for Madrid derby, insists Simeone

Diego Costa has only scored one goal this season. (AFP pic)

MADRID: Diego Simeone has pledged his full support to Diego Costa despite the Atlético Madrid striker’s La Liga drought ahead of Saturday’s derby against Real Madrid.

Costa scored twice against Real as Atlético lifted the European Super Cup in August and, going further back, he hit the winner at the Santiago Bernabéu in 2013, before leaving to join Chelsea.

He has struggled for goals this season, however, managing only one in the Champions League against Monaco, while in La Liga he has not found the net since February, a run that includes 15 matches.

“I see him being in fantastic form and for me, in the first half the other day (against Huesca), he was above everyone else, he played very well,” Simeone said on Friday.

“He was involved in our first goal with an assist and was always always moving and causing problems. Physically, he is strong and against Madrid, I expect him to have a great game.”

Atlético will jump above their city rivals with a win this weekend after reducing a seven-point gap to two over the last fortnight.

As well as recording back-to-back wins over Getafe and Huesca, Real have slipped up against Athletic Bilbao before being blown away on Wednesday by Sevilla.

“I look beyond the last game when I look at Madrid,” Simeone said. “They didn’t have a good match in the first half, but that can happen against Sevilla because they are a great team.”

“I look at them and think about the talent and potential they have. We know we’re going to face one of the best teams in the world.”