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Simeone aiming high ahead of Real clash

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has argued his side’s next step is to reach the top of La Liga ahead of their derby clash with Real Madrid.

Simeone’s side will head into Saturday’s derby in third place in La Liga, three points behind Real with five games to follow the weekend’s action.

If Atletico were to remain third by the end of the campaign, it would be their best finish in La Liga since they won the title in 1995/96 but Simeone wants even more next season.

“For me I would like to be above them all, not just Real Madrid,” Simeone said.

“It is not just Madrid, I have no rival.”

Saturday’s clash will be the first of two between the Madrid-based teams in the space of a month as Real will face Atletico in the final of the Copa del Rey on May 17.

When asked which match he would prefer to win, Simeone argued that, just like Atletico fans, he wants success in both.

“I don’t think Atletico Madrid fans would accept a choice between second position and the Copa Del Rey, they want to win the league game and the final,” Simeone said.

“We are now on a path in which the only way out is to win.”

But Simeone believes, no matter whether Atletico can overhaul Real in the league or not, his players have improved.

“The league does not end on Saturday, obviously there remains many games and our aspirations continue to grow,” he said.

“We said earlier in the season, we wanted to improve on last year when we were fifth.

“We can go higher but it is good growth for the club.”

Thu 25 April, 2013
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