Antoine Griezmann: 'I know I play a key role here'

"We wouldn't change it for the world" – Antoine Griezmann has learnt to love Diego Simeone's demanding style at Atlético.

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What was it like adapting to Diego Simeone's style of play when you first joined the club?

It was a little different to what I was used to at Real Sociedad – more defensive work in a tactical sense. I had to learn, to look at my fellow players and listen. Within a couple of months, I was part of the starting XI.

It's a style of play that I like and that I try to teach to the new players. It's what has made us successful and we wouldn't change it for anything in the world.

It's a style that also requires a lot of work and sacrifices for attackers – what's it like to be a striker in this system?

Watch five great Griemann goals
Watch five great Griemann goals

It's difficult at the start because you're not used to it, or you prefer staying up top and waiting for the ball, but you can't do that here. Everyone has to work, help each other defensively; you have to win the ball back.

You learn to enjoy it, and then you enjoy recovering the ball, going into tackles and winning 50-50s. It's what gives you confidence when you have the ball.

You've explained that you've become a more complete player over the past few years – did this help you to commit to Atlético?

I see myself as a key part of this project at the moment and that helped me decide. That and, of course, the support of the gaffer, the club, and my fellow players. I know that I play a key role here and I'll give everything to help this club go as far as it possibly can.

Do you think winning the 2017/18 Europa League can help the players to go far in this season's Champions League?

Watch Atlético winner against Juventus in 2014
Watch Atlético winner against Juventus in 2014

We have players that have already played in Champions League, Europa League and World Cup finals. We're already gaining in confidence in important games and moments and I think it's at those times that we really raise our game and that helps us play better.

We have new faces in the team, but I think that the fundamental base remains the same and that is what will help us to go far.

A lot has been said about this season's final, which will be at the Estadio Metropolitano – does that give you extra motivation?

It gives us and the fans even more motivation. There's always a great atmosphere and that's what we need, that's what we want as players. [A home final] would be a celebration for everyone associated with Atlético. The path there will be very difficult, but we will try our best; we will do everything in our power to get there, and then we'll see.

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