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Delighted Simeone plays down Atletico´s title hopes

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone offered warm praise for his team’s hard-fought 1-0 win over Real Betis in La Liga.

Koke opened the scoring after seven minutes as Atletico were rewarded for making an enterprising start to the contest.

Antoine Griezmann passed up chances to give the visitors a greater margin of victory but Simeone was delighted with a display that lifted Atleti above city rivals Real Madrid in La Liga and into second place.

“The team played a great match,” he said at a news conference. “They were incisive and created goal opportunities.

“The important thing is to keep growing and we want to keep the level of football, which was very good.

“We’re going match-by-match and we’ll see how far we can go. The goal is to improve ourselves and exceed the numbers we did.”

Atletico find themselves four points behind defending champions Barcelona and two ahead of Real Madrid after Luis Enrique’s side dealt out a chastening 4-0 Clasico thumping at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Simeone’s team famously pipped the two giants of Spanish football to the title in 2013-14 and he believes his current side has a way to go to match the heroes of two seasons ago.

“The most complete [Atletico team] was the one that won the league,” he added.

“We’re happy and want to repeat performances like against Betis.”

Match-winner Koke was also keen to play down Atletico’s title credentials.

“We’re happy to be second,” he told reporters. “We’re doing well and we have to keep going like this.

“Our aim is to be third. It’s the journalists who talk about winning La Liga.”

Sun 22 Nov, 2015
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