Koke: Derby like a final

Koke has said Atletico Madrid will treat Sunday’s derby with Real Madrid as if it were a Cup final.

Atletico go into the game at Vicente Calderon three points behind Madrid, who top the table.

Los Colchoneros were beaten in their last fixture, a 3-0 reverse at Osasuna, but Koke insists the result is out of the players’ minds.

“The defeat in Pamplona is behind us now,” Koke told a Press conference.

“We’ll be confronting the derby as though it’s a final. Three points are up for grabs but it’s special because it’s against Real Madrid.

“How can we beat them? By scoring more goals than they do.”

Koke admitted however that Atleti were stung by going down to Osasuna.

“It was difficult to stomach a defeat like that. It was quite a significant defeat because so much was at stake.

“But we’re still there, behind Madrid and we cannot wait for the derby to arrive.

“Madrid are playing well. They put in a great performance in [against Schalke] but Sunday’s game will be different.

“It’s a match you always want to play and if you can win, it’s even better.

“It will be very different to the recent meetings we’ve had with Madrid – there is more at stake for both of us this time.

“Defensively they’re looking very solid and in attack they have great individual players. We’ll see how we attack them on Sunday but no team is invincible.”

Koke also stressed that even if Atletico lose to Los Blancos, they’re not out of the title race.

“We’ll continue to take it one game at a time but it’s obvious that losing reduces our chances – another defeat could leave us trailing by six points,” he conceded.

“But even if that happens, there are still a lot of games left to play.

“The main [objective] is to qualify for the Champions League and continue with our long-term project. We’re achieving all of the objectives we’ve set ourselves.

“We have more ambition with each day that passes. That’s the reason we are where we are. It’s impossible to win everything – even for Madrid and Barca.

“We’re just thinking about us, not our rivals. We have a long week to prepare and work on things and it’s going well.”

It was put to Koke that Atletico are making more mistakes now than in the first half of the season, something with which he didn’t disagree.

“That’s something we need to study so that we don’t repeat them on Sunday,” he replied.

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