La Liga Match Preview: Atletico vs Malaga, Jiménez Looking To Improve League Form After Scoring Twice For Mexico

The 23-year-old summer signing has thus far failed to justify his €10 million transfer fee but he has been buoyed by his two goals in midweek against Belarus

Raul Jimenez feels his display for Mexico proves he is ready for Atletico Madrid’s first team, starting against in-form Malaga on Saturday.

The 23-year-old forward has found the going tough in Spain since joining the Rojiblancos for a reported €10million fee from Club America during the last transfer window.

Jimenez has started just three matches and scored one goal in La Liga and the last time he was afforded minutes on the pitch came as a substitute in the 3-1 loss at Valencia at the start of October.

However, he impressed in Mexico’s 3-2 friendly defeat in Belarus on Tuesday, twice putting Miguel Herrera’s team in the lead in the second half.

And Jimenez is confident that he can show the same kind of form at club level for Diego Simeone’s side.

“He [Simeone] told me I’ve got to be patient, relaxed, and he shows me in training what I’ve got to do to get minutes on the pitch,” Jimenez told reporters.

“If I’ve got to redouble my efforts then I will, which is what I’ve always done in my career.

“Being picked for Mexico has helped to prove I am able to do things and that I’m ready for whatever is around the corner and I can do well.”

Atleti return to domestic action after the international break seeking a swift response to a 2-1 defeat to Real Sociedad in their last league outing.

Simeone is set to head into the game without centre-back Miranda, who injured his hamstring in Brazil’s 2-1 win over Austria on Tuesday, while winger Jesus Gamez (nose) is doubtful and Guilherme Siqueira is suspended after being sent off against Sociedad.

In Malaga, fourth-placed Atleti welcome one of the league’s form teams and five straight Liga wins have left Javi Gracia’s men in sixth spot.

Part of Malaga’s success has been down to a strong defence, with only Barcelona having conceded fewer league goals.

Atleti need no reminding of the difficulty that Malaga pose, having been held to a 1-1 draw in the corresponding fixture last season in May.

And left-back Vitorino Antunes says the team are heading to the capital determined to claim all three points.

“Atletico are a very good team from a tactical point of view, so we need to stay on our toes,” he told the club’s official website.

“They are the current champions, we know it will be difficult and we have respect for our rival, but we want to defeat Atletico.”


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