Simeone backs 'idol' Torres to reach Atletico century


Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says he expects Fernando Torres to improve and has backed the misfiring striker to reach the 100-goal mark for the club.

Torres has been stuck on 99 goals for Atleti since he last found the net in September but will again go in search of his landmark goal against Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday.

Simeone's men resume their La Liga campaign in second place - level on points with Barcelona, having played a game more - and the Argentinian says there is plenty more to come from his squad.

"I always expect more from all of them, Fernando loves the club and he is an idol," Simeone told reporters.

"He has brought a lot to the club, tomorrow he will play and he is close to the famous 100th goal.

"He always has chances, so he has to continue working as he is and forget the pressure which I do not think is a big problem for him. 

"Things will change and go right for him I am sure, when you least expect it."

Jackson Martinez will return to the bench for Simeone after recovering from an ankle sprain as Atleti face a Rayo side beaten 10-2 by Real Madrid before the winter break.

Rayo briefly led at the Santiago Bernabeu and Simeone is wary of Paco Jemez's side, who sit 18th in the table.

"Rayo is a brave side and in attack they can be decisive, we saw that in the first 15 minutes of their last match," he added. 

"They had more numbers all over the pitch, they can be dangerous and their braveness can help and hinder them. It is the side that crosses the most from the wings in La Liga and has a good attack. 

"Pablo Hernandez is working well, [Roberto] Trashorras also, Lass [Bangoura] can be dangerous. Their last game was different to any other, but Rayo is also different to all other sides.

"They will not change, they have their style like us, or Barcelona, and you have to respect that."