Filipe Luis: Atleti not title rivals

Atletico Madrid full-back Filipe Luis has reflected on his time since joining the club and explained why he believes they are not title candidates.

Atleti are currently second in the table and enjoying a strong run of form, but the Brazilian is the latest to declare that the side are not direct rivals to Barcelona and Real Madrid.

“To set ourselves the goal of challenging Barca and Madrid is wrong, because last season we were more than 40 points behind those two,” the former Deportivo defender told Marca.

“With a game by game mentality we will fight for big things and finish in the top four.”

The full-back was pressed on the reluctance to present the team as an alternative title candidate.

“We have our feet on the ground. With Barcelona we were level for the first nine weeks, until we lost at Mestalla, which is a difficult ground.

“But all games are difficult, so the team can have setbacks through the season. And when we do, we will fall further back and our reality will become another. Now we are second and we are good, but they go close to 100 points and that’s hard for anyone.”

Filipe was also pressed on his time so far at the club, surpassing 100 appearances for the team and the impact Coach Diego Simeone has had.

“When I joined this team it was the greatest dream. I wanted to play and succeed here. It is true that when I began my career I never would have imagined I would reach these heights.

“I’m playing in the best League in the world and in one of the world’s leading teams and also am a champion. I am very grateful for all the confidence the club have shown in me.

“There have been good and bad moments here. I experienced all the bad before El Cholo arrived here. With Quique [Sanchez Flores] we were fine, we were seventh, but we never got to the top four.

“Doing well is difficult because this club deserves to be up there and at that time we were even away from the Europa League. It was very difficult, with a lot of criticism. Simeone has changed the whole dynamic.

“With him we have begun to fight. He came with the mindset and knowledge of the club, because with this club he fought relegation and won the double, so he knows both sides of the coin. He knows this place and what is needed to succeed here.

“The Coach not only tells us how we have to play but also how we are feeling at the club and day to day not to lose focus on our goal. The team now wants to get as far as possible in Europe and the Copa del Rey and achieve Champions League qualification.”

Tags Filipe Luis Simeone