Atletico Madrid coach Simeone says Suarez return close

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Group A - Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - November 25, 2020 Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone reacts REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone confirmed that forward Luis Suarez is close to a return to action following his positive COVID-19 test.

The Uruguayan tested positive while on international duty earlier this month and has yet to resume training with Atleti. However, Simeone believes a return to action is imminent ahead of Tuesday's crunch Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.

"He feels good, he really wants to be back with the boys," Simeone told a news conference on Monday.

Suarez returned a positive test on Sunday and will undertake another on Tuesday ahead of the game.

"The most important thing is that he returns a negative test. If he can't play tomorrow, he'll play on Saturday," the Argentine coach added.

"This virus is strange. If he comes back negative tomorrow, he could play for us. He just wants to help the side."

Suarez's absence was evident last time out as Atleti struggled to break down a resolute Lokomotiv Moscow side and his strike partner Diego Costa is also missing with deep vein thrombosis.

"Of course Suarez and Costa's characteristics are those of forwards who can finish off chances the side might create. We've got more goalscorers, though, and we need to use them as best we can," Simeone said.

Atletico are second in Group A on five points and a win would go a long way to sealing their place in the knockout stage. Bayern have already qualified and have left both captain Manuel Neuer and top scorer Robert Lewandowski out of the squad for the trip to the Spanish capital.

"We don't have much margin for error after two draws, one win and a loss. We need to get a result tomorrow. Whatever happens in the other game (Lokomotiv v Salzburg), we need to try and take the game in a direction that allows us to do them damage," Simeone added.

"We're playing against a Bayern side who play in a lot of competitions and they've shown that with their squad selection. We'll take on whoever they choose to play... They have a lot of goalscorers and that's their big strength."

(Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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