Thursday, May 23, 2024

Atletico Madrid must improve in top-four chase, says Simeone

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 May 2024

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Atletico Madrid need to step up in order to secure Champions League qualification, head coach Diego Simeone said ahead of Saturday’s LaLiga trip to Mallorca.

Simeone’s men are fourth in the standings with 64 points, seven behind third-placed Girona with five matches left. Atletico lead Athletic Bilbao, in fifth place, by three points.

They were knocked out of the Champions League after a 5-4 quarter-final aggregate loss to Germany’s Borussia Dortmund and Simeone feels the Spanish top flight is also getting more intense with every year.

“We are thinking about the game, hopefully we can be in the top four as we have been these years, but it is more difficult every day,” Simeone told reporters at his pre-match press conference.

“There is improvement in the other teams, so we have to improve.”

Atletico have struggled defensively this season, having failed to keep a clean sheet since a 5-0 home win over Las Palmas in February.

“When you talk about defence, people misunderstand and think that it’s only the defenders,” Simeone said.

“The defence is a team and we have conceded a lot of goals because we haven’t been able to work as a team.”

The Argentine said his team will have their work cut out to claim all three points against 16th-placed Mallorca.

“We have a tough opponent like Mallorca… they work with a coach who I admire for his calmness and his ability to compete,” added Simeone.

“I admire those coaches. We will face a tough and difficult game.

“When the season is over and the accounts are closed, I’ll be able to comment on how I feel and what I think about the objectives [since I took charge of Atletico].”

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