Dynamic Diego

Mendieta talks Simeone, Malaga and Bielsa's leaked speech

Last Updated: 24/10/12 2:40pm

Gaizka Mendieta told Revista that Diego Simeone has transformed Atletico Madrid.

"Atletico have completely turned around and they are winning games in the last minute; they don't give up."

Gaizka Mendieta

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Simeone's charges only lie behind La Liga leaders Barcelona on goal difference after an unbeaten start to the season, which has seen them garner wins against the likes of Athletic Bilbao and Malaga, in addition to Sunday's last-gasp triumph over Real Sociedad.

The Argentine has had a dramatic effect on the Vicente Calderon outfit since he took charge in December 2011, leading them to the Europa League title last term and to the European Super Cup this.

And former Valencia and Barcelona midfielder Mendieta thinks Simeone's man-management skills are the main reason for Atleti's improvement in fortunes.

"Simeone has input a mentality into this team," he said. "This was a team last year that couldn't win a game and were losing in the last few minutes. Now it has completely turned around and they are winning games in the last minute; they don't give up.

"As a manager you have to speak to the whole team but you have to treat every single player in a different way and I think it is the way Simeone talks individually to the players (that is having a big effect)."

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Malaga, meanwhile, had a difficult summer and were forced to sell star names Santi Cazorla and Salomon Rondon to Arsenal and Rubin Kazan respectively.

But the Andalucians currently occupy third spot in the La Liga table and Mendieta reckons they can secure Champions League football for a second consecutive campaign.

"The manager (Manuel Pellegrini) has a lot to do with," he said. "Pellegrini did well at Villarreal and Real Madrid and, after taking his time at a new team and with new players, has done well at Malaga.

"They are winning, they play good football and they have Isco and Joaquin back and in top form, and they are another side to be considered for the Champions League."

Valencia have finished in third place for the last three seasons, but after amassing a trio of early defeats - to Barcelona, Mallorca and Levante - are sitting just inside the top 10.

However, Revista regular Guillem Balague believes that the re-emergence of midfielder Ever Banega, who was just recovered from a broken leg that he sustained after being run over by his own car, will give the Mestalla men a new dimension.

"Banega is back after eight months out and is more mature; he can add to the side," Balague said of the Argentine. "He wants the ball and to be the leader of this team.

"He is essential to Valencia because he is the creative midfielder; Tino Costa and Fernando Gago just do not do that, but Banega gives them a different level."

Hit the video at the top of the screen for Gaizka and Guillem's thoughts on Marcelo Bielsa, after a passionate speech that the Argentine delivered to his players at the end of last season was leaked to the press.