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Simeone wants ´present´ after impressive Atletico season

Diego Simeone has called on his Atletico Madrid side to maintain their recent form and secure a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League.

Atletico currently sit in third place in La Liga, 11 points clear of Real Sociedad in fourth, and face an “awesome” 20 days according to the Argentine.
As well as four more league games, including a home tie against league leaders Barcelona, they will also contest the Copa Del Rey final against city rivals Real Madrid, something which Simeone is looking forward to.
“Everything is amazing,” he said. “We have 20 days coming which are awesome because all matches have something for working up the football passion.
“At (Deportivo la) Coruna the atmosphere was amazing. I think tomorrow in (Celta) Vigo is going to be the same. I am sure next Sunday at El Calderon will be the same because we are facing the leaders and later the Spanish Cup (final) and after that we will be closing the season.”
Atletico have only lost seven times all season in what has been a hugely impressive campaign and Simeone wants his side to be rewarded for their efforts with a spot in next season’s Champions League.
He said: “I think we have to give a present to ourselves because the lads have done a huge season. Awesome. And tomorrow we have a massive match and we have now the chance, if winning, of going straight away to the Champions League next season.
“This hasn’t happened if I am not wrong since 1996. It is a good chance.”
One of Atletico’s standout performers this season has been goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, with the on-loan Chelsea goalkeeper making 33 starts for the club.
However, Simeone says it is not just the 20-year-old Belgian who is to thank for their good form.
“It’s not just Courtois’ work, it is a team’s work and it is important for our keeper has the chance to be fit in this moment for us,” he said.
“He is a good guy. He has a strong mentality. He has a huge potential. Everything he is going through this season is because of him, obviously, but it’s because he is surrounded by a great team.”
Atletico travel to Celta Vigo on Wednesday with their opposition languishing in 19th place but unbeaten in three games.
Tue 7 May, 2013
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