Atletico boss Diego Simeone tries to stay positive after Tiago breaks leg

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says injury-stricken midfielder Tiago is already plotting his recovery after breaking his leg in the win over Espanyol.

The Portuguese was taken off on a stretcher during the first half of the match at the Vicente Calderon, having fallen awkwardly after an attempted challenge on Espanyol forward Marco Asensio.

The injury is expected to rule the 34-year-old out for the rest of the season, but Simeone tried to stay positive after the 1-0 win.

"Tiago got injured but we are already counting the days until he will return," the coach told the press conference.

"He has enormous energy levels and he will return when the time is right and he feels good.

"I want to send him the energy of the club, the fans and the playing staff and to tell him we love him a lot."

Tiago has played in all of Atletico's league and Champions League matches this season, but Simeone had little desire to discuss whether or not he would go into the transfer market in January to fill the void left by the midfielder.

However, he did suggest that 21-year-old Saul Niguez and Argentine holding midfielder Matias Kranevitter, who signed in the summer from River Plate and will join the squad next month, could take his place.

Atletico won the game thanks to an early goal by Antoine Griezmann, who picked up where he left off against Galatasaray on Wednesday, when he netting a brace in as the Madrid outfit won 2-0.

"Griezmann is growing and is on the way up," Simeone said of the French forward.

"Today he played on the right, as a centre forward and as a second striker. Only he can determine how far he goes.

"He is a great listener and puts ideas into practice, and he has a spectacular future ahead of him."

The slender victory over Espanyol was Atletico's third straight league win and sees them remain in second place, above Real Madrid but four points behind leaders Barcelona.

However, despite his team's run of results, Simeone does not see similarities between his current set of players and the squad containing the likes of Thibaut Courtois and Diego Costa that won the Primera Division title two seasons ago.

"I don't see similarities because that team contained men, guys of 27 and 28 years," he said. "Our youngest player was Koke.

"Now we have a team of young lads but the sooner they grow, the better it will be for us. We are very excited about the future."