Diego Simeone believes Luis Aragones would be proud to see Atletico Madrid top La Liga for the first time in 18 years.
Not since the double-winning season of 1995-96 have Los Colchoneros topped the table but they moved clear of Barcelona on Sunday with a 4-0 win over Real Sociedad, 24 hours after Barca lost at home to Valencia.
Simeone stressed after the final whistle that despite the comfortable score line, it was a victory his team worked hard for.
“The match was difficult despite what the result says,” El Cholo told reporters.
“The first 20 minutes were especially tough but we made changes that worked.”
Simeone added that neither he nor his players were fazed by a difficult schedule that sees games come thick and fast.
“We try to go game by game and get ready for fixtures every two or three days. That is the key to continuing.
“Being leader never comes at a bad time and we only ever look at positives.”
The game was played the day after the death of Aragones, who played for and Coached Atleti in his long career.
“Luis was a brave fighter and today he would be proud.
“The heavens are red and white. This team is a lot like him.”
The game also saw Diego make his return after sealing a deadline day loan to Atleti from Wolfsburg.
“Today we’ve seen Diego’s importance and intelligence. We know his desire because he was desperate to come here.”