Jose Maria Gimenez is delighted to have an opportunity to impress at Atletico Madrid and has vowed to make the most of his run in the side.
The defender stepped in for injury victim Miranda in Los Rojiblancos’ defence in their 3-1 La Liga victory over Malaga at the weekend and he seems set to continue in the side when Atleti host Olympiakos on Wednesday.
A victory for the Spanish champions in the Champions League clash would see them secure qualification for the next round, and almost certainly ensure they finish as the Group A winners.
Gimenez admits he does not like to see team-mate Miranda injured, but welcomed the chance to play alongside fellow Uruguayan Diego Godin in the Atleti back line.
“I feel very supported by both my peers and the coaching staff, and I want to keep growing,” he told AS.
“It’s a shame that I entered the team through a teammate’s injury. Miranda’s a player who always does well, and when you get the chance, you try to do what [your predecessor] does and help the team move forward.
“Godin’s a benchmark and mirror for me. Having him by my side makes me gain confidence. He talks to me and orders me around a lot, and that makes me feel comfortable.”
Gimenez concedes Miranda will probably take his place in the side when he returns from injury, but the youngster has thanked coach Diego Simeone for giving him a chance to impress during the Brazilian’s absence.
He added: “I feel the Coach’s trust. I want to thank him for this opportunity. I know I have two colleagues ahead of me, both of whom have won everything and are amazing.
“I’m 19, I’m learning, growing and I must continue to demonstrate that I’m good enough and always want to be playing. I have to remain patient.”
Atletico are 1.34 to beat Olympiakos, the Greek outfit can be backed at 8.48 and a draw is 4.86.