‘Barca reinforce what Atleti do’

Diego Simeone has explained why he and Atletico Madrid are happy to have seen League rivals Barcelona progress in the Champions League.

The Catalans turned around a first leg deficit on Tuesday evening to defeat Milan 4-2 in the Champions League Last 16.

“I have discussed this in the dressing room with the players,” Simeone revealed at a Press conference today.

“To go through the season fighting with Real Madrid and Barcelona fills me with pride. The result for La Blaugrana reinforces what we are doing. Fighting for second place with these teams show that Atletico are doing a great job.”

Atleti are preparing for next weekend’s trip to Osasuna off the back of their first League defeat at home in 11 months, to Real Sociedad.

“It’s a game that hurt us to lose, but we have to think about Sunday. The attitude and desire was there, but we could not score in the first 20 minutes. Then we had chances, but we lacked the tranquillity in the final minutes.

“Osasuna? They will be a tough opponent and we have to put in a lot of intensity. They are a team that plays very well from midfield to attack.

“Their statistics are also important, they have conceded very few goals.”

Simeone was asked of the chances of keeping goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for a third season on loan from Chelsea.

“It does not depend on us alone. He is a great ‘keeper, for the future and also for the present. The best thing for the team would be for him to stay.”

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