Diego Simeone sees the Madrid derby this weekend as an opportunity that Atletico Madrid ‘have to make the most of’.
Atleti entertain Madrid this Saturday evening just three points behind Jose Mourinho’s side in the table and with Los Blancos in-between the two legs of their Champions League semi-final.
“The team is good. They put in a big performance in Seville, working hard as a group,” Simeone reflected to reporters this week.
“We’ll approach this game like any other League game. With the same excitement and enthusiasm to take the three points.
“We are closer to our target, it has taken a lot of hard work to get here and Saturday is another chance to get closer.
“We have to play better than them and I live and think Saturday is an opportunity that we have to make the most of.
“Football is a particular moment as we have seen in the Champions League. You must react to the situations presented to you.
“Saturday's game will allow us to stay focused, attentive and look to take the opportunity.”
Atletico have Diego Costa available after the club’s appeal against his suspension-inducing booking last weekend was successful.
“Diego has some features that will improve and we can not take away his essence. He will grow as a footballer and learn from everything that is going on.
“He is an option in attack and we appreciate all the vitality that he gives the team whenever he plays.”
El Cholo reflected that whilst the Madrid game presents an opportunity, it is not the be all and end all of Atleti’s season.
“The League is not finished on Saturday. There are a lot of games left to play and we always have the desire to keep growing. To improve on last season.
“The higher we can finish, the more important it will be for the club and for a team that has worked hard, we are strong and will continue to grow.
“Is finishing above Madrid extra motivation? I like to be above all the opposition.
“I have 19 rivals who we are competing to be above. We got out to finish above as many teams as possible.”