Simeone: Favourites are top

Diego Simeone believes that the pressure is on Real Madrid ahead of the derby this weekend.

Atletico Madrid host Los Blancos tomorrow afternoon, and the Argentine Coach has insisted that Carlo Ancelotti’s men are the ones to beat at Vicente Calderon.

“The favourites are the ones who are top of the table, it’s only logical that the team which is top of the standings is the better side,” he told a Press conference.

“You can say as many nice words about us as you like but deeds count, not words.

“For results – which is what you, the journalists value, and for the way they have been performing lately, we can say that we’ll be up against a Madrid side who are in their best moment.

“They put in a great game [against Schalke] and they’ll be visiting the Vicente Calderón after an emphatic win; they are the league leaders and they’re hitting form. Right now, Madrid is the most-feared side in Europe.

“The best thing about Real Madrid is how they play as a unit, they have some fantastic individual players who reinforce a side which is very well-balanced. If we play with intensity and focus, we’ll be in with a chance.

“We will be meeting one of our main rivals – one who is in a great moment of form and who, since November or December, have really blossomed.”

Simeone then commented on last weekend’s defeat at Osasuna.

“It’s always tough after a defeat, you just hope that you’re able to recover and can make up the points elsewhere to get back amongst the top positions.

“We’ve had a week to prepare for this game – all of our pain and anger has had time to disappear and now the optimism and expectation has returned.

“We knew right at the start of the season that, to get to this point, being three points off the top of the table in the best league in the world, we would need to pay at some point. And that is the situation we are in now.

“We knew that we would put in a decent campaign but what counts is how you end the season. We’re not only thinking about the present – we also know how important the remaining games will be for when we reach the end of the season.

“You, the media, will judge us on how we perform between now and the final day whether it be in the Champions League or in the league; we’re just hoping to do the best we can in this final stage of the campaign and for me, that’s all that matters.”

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