Diego Simeone has dismissed reports suggesting he has lost the dressing room at Atletico Madrid, amid rumours he could be in line to succeed Unai Emery in the hot seat at Arsenal.
Atletico have endured a frustrating start to the 2019-20 campaign, slipping to sixth in La Liga after 15 fixtures.
A 1-0 defeat at home to Barcelona last weekend compounded their misery, with only one win recorded from their last seven matches across all competitions.
Simeone’s position at Wanda Metropolitano has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, with there some suggestion that his reign in the Spanish capital is nearing its natural conclusion.
The 49-year-old has spent the last eight years of his career with Atleti, winning seven major trophies, including one La Liga title and two Europa League crowns.
The Argentine is among a number of high profile candidates being linked with the top job at Arsenal, who are currently on the lookout for their next permanent manager – with Freddie Ljungberg currently in charge on an interim basis.
Atletico and Simeone have been tipped to part ways if results don’t improve quickly, but the highly-rated tactician insists that the pressure he is facing at the moment is no different to any other year.
“In the eight years that I have been here, it has been said that the group was not with me every year,” Simeone told a press conference.
“There is always a moment of speculation. However, we move forward with patience and lots of energy. I don’t think there has been more criticism than in other seasons.
“The responsibility I have is a lot. I assume it and share it with players, club, people who work in the dressing room.
“We all have a responsibility – mine is important, I assume it and I look for solutions so that everything returns to the best situation, which is to win. When you win, everything looks much better.”
Simeone was speaking ahead of his side’s crucial trip to El Madrigal to face Villarreal on Friday night, where they can move back into third with a much-needed victory.
Atletico saw Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin, Rodri, Lucas Hernandez, Juanfran, Filipe Luis and Gelson Martins all leave the club during the summer window, with the likes of Keiran Trippier, Hector Herrera and club-record signing Joao Felix arriving in their stead.
Simeone has urged supporters to be patient as the club negotiates their way through a difficult transitional phase, which he believes has seen the rub of the green go against them on a consistent basis.
He added: “Change will come and, instead of hitting the post, the ball will go in. We have to stay patient and know that we’re in a year of transition.”