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Simeone still sceptical of challengers in Spain

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone has argued La Liga is too unpredictable for his side to slacken off in their bid for European football.

Despite having seen his team demolish Granada 5-0 on Sunday to strengthen their hold on third place in La Liga, Simeone said he believes there have been enough ‘unexpected’ scores over the past month in Spain’s top tier to keep him vigilant against complacency.

While Atletico sit in Spain’s third automatic UEFA Champions League qualifying berth, and have an 11 point gap on fourth-placed Real Sociedad, Simeone is wary of thinking his side’s spot in Europe’s premier club competitions is sealed just yet.

“It is impossible to take the Champions League spot for granted,” Simeone said.

“You only have to look at recent scores.

“There are still seven games to go but scores are tending to be sort of unexpected.

“So we still have a job to do, we’ll try to finish second.

“That would be very important.”

Atletico Madrid started on top of their game against Granada with Diego Costa giving them the lead in just the fourth minute and Simeone was thrilled to see his players show ruthlessness in front of goal.

“I think Granada faced an Atletico Madrid that didn’t hesitate or speculate,” Simeone said.

“We were strong from the beginning, aggressive and intense.

“So when this happens, it’s never easy for any team.”

Colombian striker Radamel Falcao scored twice, while Raul Garcia, Diego Costa and Filipe Luis added the other goals for Atletico as Koke finished with three assists.

The victory over Granada extended Atletico’s good form to just one loss in their past 10 matches, which gave their 42-year-old Argentine coach something to smile about.

“The key today was converting our chances from the start,” Simeone said.

“We prepared for this match so well, with intensity.

“So we are happy with the score, with our performance.

“We’ve had five wins, four draws and only one defeat in our last 10 games. So we are happy.”

Sun 14 Apr, 2013
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