Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has called on out-of-form striker Luis Suarez to use his experience in decisive moments to fire his side to the LaLiga title.
Atletico head into their final home game of the season against Osasuna on Sunday with a two-point lead over nearest challengers Real Madrid and know any slip-up could cost them their first Spanish crown since 2014.
Suarez is Atletico’s top scorer this season but has failed to find the net in his last five league outings, his longest goalless stretch this season.
The Uruguayan looked particularly frustrated when he was substituted in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Real Sociedad, but he has plenty of experience of keeping his head in crucial stages of the season after winning four titles with Barcelona.
Simeone backed his striker to help get his side over the line. “We are entering the Suarez zone,” the Argentine told a news conference on Saturday.
“It’s the ideal moment for a player like him to finish off any chances we create. He’s very used to these types of games.”
Atletico must beat Osasuna and win at Real Valladolid in their final fixture to guarantee they lift the trophy, although they could clinch it with victory on Saturday if Real Madrid fail to win at Athletic Bilbao.
The matches are taking place at the same time but Simeone said he was not concerned his players could get distracted by events in Bilbao.
“We’re going to focus on what we need to do. The best thing is to only think about the next game, as we have done all season,” he said.
“We’re only concerned with the game with Osasuna, a team who have always competed very well and will do so tomorrow too. We’re going to try and win our game, that’s the most important thing for us, and the team is full of hope and enthusiasm.”