Atletico Madrid right-back Kieran Trippier has hailed Diego Simeone as the best manager in the world, despite the doubts surrounding his future.
Trippier joined Atletico in the summer after four years with Tottenham Hotspur having experienced a tough final campaign in the Premier League following the highs of the 2018 World Cup.
The 29-year-old has enjoyed a good personal season, re-finding his form and earning a spot back in the England squad, but Atletico have underwhelmed.
Is Diego Simeone facing the sack at Atletico Madrid? Five things to know…
- Simeone has been manager of Atletico Madrid since 2011.
- In that time, he has won one La Liga title, one Copa del Rey and two Europa Leagues as well as reaching two Champions League finals.
- But Simeone has come under fire this season with Atletico currently fifth in La Liga.
- They were also knocked out of the Copa del Rey by third-tier side Cultural Leonesa.
- Atletico Madrid are 33/1* to win the 2019/20 La Liga title.
Simeone’s side are currently fifth in La Liga after 21 games, 10 points behind leaders and rivals Real Madrid, having failed to win their past two league games.
The defeat to Eibar and draw with Leganes — games Trippier missed through injury — have been joined by a penalty-shootout loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final and Copa del Rey third-round exit to third-tier Cultural Leonesa.
As a result, Atletico and Simeone, in particular, have come under criticism leading to some minor discussions surrounding his future — albeit not within the club.
However, Trippier has come out in support of Simeone, calling the Argentinian the best manager in the world.
“I think everybody knows how good he is, how passionate he is when he is on the touchline and when he’s in training,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“He’s unbelievable and I’ve got this opportunity to learn from him.
“You always see him with an arm around the young lads. When you see him fired up it gives you a lift and it just shows how passionate he is.
“I call him ‘Mister’ which is the Spanish for ‘boss’. I have to tell people [what I mean] when I call him ‘gaffer’. It’s so different.
“Is Simeone the best manager in the world now? For me, personally, yes. When people actually play for him they realise how good he is.”
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Trippier then went on to praise Burnley manager Sean Dyche for the help he gave early on in the right-back’s career.
He added: “Obviously you’ve got some good managers: [Jurgen] Klopp, [Pep] Guardiola… Sean Dyche! You’ve got quality managers out there but he’s certainly up there for sure.
“Sean Dyche is a brilliant manager. From the first day he walked in [Trippier played for Burnley from 2011-2015, initially on loan] he sorted my career out basically.
“From when I was young, stupid and going out, he just sat me down and said ‘no more’. Unbelievable manager and I loved playing for him and, who knows, one day I might get the opportunity to play for him again.”
Atletico president gives Simeone his backing
Despite Atletico’s poor run, Simeone appears to have his future with the club secure, after president Enrique Cerezo publicly backed the manager.
“The [criticism] seems unfair to me and cannot be carried out,” Cerezo said.
“He’s the coach that has given us the most titles and you have to bear in mind that there is no team in Spain that has kept a coach for at least eight years and those that remain.
“We don’t doubt him at all. We’re delighted with him. Everyone has bad games.”