Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone on Saturday expressed his faith in his young players, as six absences have left him with just 13 first-team members on the eve of the La Liga match against Deportivo.
Reserve-team right back Carlos Isaac, 19, is set to make his debut on Sunday with the first team, filling in for Sime Vrsaljko, who is out with hamstring discomfort, reports Efe.
"In one of my first interviews, I'd said that I wouldn't forgive myself for being in the club without giving youth academy players an opportunity. I believe in the young players, I am from a country where youth are important and we are a club that maybe needs that situation more than others," the Argentine coach said at a press conference.
Vrsaljko is only the latest addition to a long list of sidelined Rojiblancos, which includes the suspended Antoine Griezmann and Victor "Vitolo" Machin and the injured Jose Maria Gimenez, Juanfran Torres and Filipe Luis.
"We went through better moments at the beginning with the arrival of Saul (Ñiguez), Oliver (Torres), (Javier) Manquillo, Thomas (Partey) and Lucas (Hernandez), and in the last period, we have had low participation," Simeone added.
"It is also true that the team has improved and while improving, it is more difficult to count on the boys, but the opportunities always appear, and we always watch, and when there is an opportunity it's healthy, it rejuvenates, it gives good energy, and I like when a young player makes his debut because they are the future. This thrills me," he continued.
Simeone said that hopefully, Isaac makes the most of the opportunity when he gets it.
The coach also downplayed his meeting in Madrid with Juventus forward and fellow Argentinian Paulo Dybala, which prompted rumours of a possible offer from the Spanish club.
"Obviously yes, I met Dybala in a restaurant, we were talking and I told him what I think of him, that he is an excellent player. He was eating dinner with two friends and I was eating alone, and there was not much more," he added.