New Atletico Madrid defender Cristian Ansaldi says he and his teammates do not care if their physical style bothers some people, in pointed comments made ahead of Saturday's derby trip to neighbours Real Madrid.
Under coach Diego Simeone, Atletico always play an intense, aggressive game, and out-battled Madrid when winning August's Spanish Super Cup 2-1 on aggregate in the clubs' most recent meetings.
In the build-up to Saturday's clash at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, the left-back on loan from Zenit Saint Petersburg told his club's website that any criticism of their style just made Atletico's players happier.
"We will keep playing the same way," Ansaldi said. 'Many people are bothered by the way Atletico Madrid play, but that just make us happy. If they are annoyed by something, well we are just going to keep playing this way. We like it."
Both teams' preparations for the game have been affected by having players away during the current international break, with 15 Madrid players joining up with various international squads, and Atletico having 12 players on duty elsewhere.
Ansaldi said that the 'FIFA virus' would not be a big issue for Atletico, as they had been getting ready for this date from some time back.
"This is a game we have been working on a for a while," he said. "Both teams have many internationals, it will affect both of us."
Atletico won 1-0 at the Bernabeu early last season, but have less happy memories of May's dramatic Champions League final when Madrid equalised in injury time and went on to win 4-1 in extra-time.
Ansaldi suggested that these harder fought previous meetings were a better indicator of what would happen this weekend than the recent Super Cup games, when both sides were coming straight from preseason training.
"We must be aware that the Super Cup is the first game after the preseason and not all the players were at 100 percent," he said. "They came from a hard preseason, now it is the third game week and we know we have a lot on the line. These are three points in one game, and we know it will be different than the Super Cup."