Atletico Madrid captain Koke Resurreccion has explained that the key difference between the Atleti that looks like a prime candidate for the La Liga title, and the Atleti that crashed out of the Champions League in bottom place last season is confidence.
The 31-year-old has seen the entirety of the Diego Simeone era at Atletico, the only player to have done so. With his contract up next summer, Koke explained that his only desire was to continue at his boyhood club, where he has been playing since six years.
“You already know my idea and philosophy of life. I’ve been here since I was six years old and I want to continue. I know the situation of the club and what has happened, whenever there has been a need to help, I have been the first to do so, and we will see what happens. My desire is to continue, I have always said so, but it no longer depends entirely on me either. I don’t want to be a burden on the club tomorrow either, what I want is to be important, continue playing and enjoying what I’m doing and continue with the streak of games I’ve had, and I’m at a good level,” he told Marca.
Things looked a lot less certain this time last year, not least for manager Diego Simeone. El Cholo recently extended his contract until 2027, but for the first time last season, the question was openly raised as to whether it was the end of his cycle.
When Los Colchoneros breaked for the World Cup, they were fifth in La Liga and out of Europe. This season they are top of their group, and six points off league leaders Girona with a game in hand. They are also the side with the most points in La Liga in 2023. Koke was asked how he could explain such a huge turnaround.
“The coach sent a message about how to play, he proposed something else, wanting to have more possession and change several details and the team accepted it well. He went all the way with that idea, before we did the same, but things didn’t work out.”
“The team began to grow, to gain confidence, winning games little by little and we reached this point we have today. We also have talks with each other and talk about our things, but beyond that it was because the results came. Because I remember that at the beginning of the season, maybe we weren’t playing well, we were winning a game and they tied us at the end or they scored a goal and we lost… That takes away your confidence.”
While Simeone changed the playing style, Koke was clear that it was the confidence to carry out, gleaned from the early results, which had made the difference.
“For example, this year the beginning of the game against Cadiz was not good and we came back. Also in other games at home we didn’t start well, we conceded and the team ended up turning the result around. In the end it is having confidence in what you do and that the results will come.”