Diego Simeone has urged Atletico Madrid supporters to end their feud with Antoine Griezmann in order to avoid losing him at the end of the season.
Griezmann was booed by fans when he slowed down the play towards the end of Atletico’s 1-0 win over Valencia on February 4, prompting a furious reaction from the France star.
The forward continues to be linked with a move away from the club in the next transfer window, with Barcelona and Manchester United among the clubs regularly tipped to make a bid.
Atleti boss Simeone says the fans should be doing their utmost to convince Griezmann to stay at the Wanda Metropolitano, rather than cause a rift.
“I know him because I’m with him every day,” he told a news conference. “He’s a fantastic boy, always enthusiastic, happy, humble, with a huge heart.
“If I were an Atletico fan, I would do everything possible not to lose Griezmann.”
Atleti, who have won four games in a row since a 3-1 Copa del Rey defeat to Sevilla, take on Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on Sunday.
Striker Aritz Aduriz and former Atleti midfielder Raul Garcia are both banned for the match, leaving Jose Angel Ziganda’s side without two of their primary weapons.
However, Simeone expects the visitors to be more dangerous on the break if Inaki s is played in attack.
“They’ll lose their aerial play but gain speed, since they’ll play with s in attack. He’s a dangerous player,” he said.
“Our pitch is big and with our intention to keep pressing, we leave space in behind where s can cause danger with his pace. We have to pay close attention to this.”