Simeone: No title talk

Atletico Madrid Coach Diego Simeone has insisted there is no talk about winning La Liga around the club despite being only four games from success.

Elche were dispatched at Vicente Calderon on Friday night with goals from Miranda and Diego Costa. Atletico are now six points clear of Real Madrid and seven ahead of Barca.

Barca play Athletic Bilbao on Sunday but Madrid are not in action this weekend, their game against Real Valladolid moved to May 7.

Miranda opened the scoring after 72 minutes while Costa added a second from the penalty spot in injury time after he was brought down by Cristian Sapunaru, who subsequently saw red.

Sapunaru had already given away one spot kick, missed by David Villa in the 50th minute.

“We knew we were going to face a team that is tactically very good,” Mundo Deportivo reports Simeone as saying at his post-match Press conference.

“The spaces we wanted weren’t there and they used that against us to generate dangerous positions.

“But not during the second-half, from the intensity and persistence beyond the penalty miss.

“Our persistence is what led us to victory. We were fair winners.”

Cholo added that he is adamant the players are only thinking about the next game, not lifting the title in May.

“We really don’t talk about that. We know how difficult it will be,” he replied when the possibility of winning the League was raised.

“We came here to put in a great effort and make sure victory was achieved. We don’t talk about that.

“Now we recover for Tuesday’s match [against Chelsea in the Champions League] which is very important for the team and for the club.

“There are four finals left but we play three games away from home. That’s a lot. We focus on the next game.”

Simeone explained a little of his thinking behind the XI selected against Elche, which had Adrian Lopez on the right wing.

“We didn’t have the structure we normally have, possibly because I made the decision to play Adrian against Sapunaru, who isn’t really a left-back,” the Coach revealed.

“That meant they won superiority in midfield. In the second-half we went back to 4-4-2 with Costa and Villa up top and Raul [Garcia] on the right for us.

“I didn’t like the way the team was in the first-half. Sometimes it doesn’t take that long to read a game.

“The contribution of Raul, Diego [Ribas] and Jose [Sosa] was decisive.

“Until the goals come you can’t stay quiet. It was a very open and dangerous game.”

Simeone revealed that he had wanted Garcia to take the second penalty and that Villa, who missed the first penalty awarded, was the first-choice taker.

“Good thing [Garcia] didn’t because in the end, Diego took it perfectly,” Simeone conceded.

The subject of Thibaut Courtois’ availability against Chelsea was also raised ahead of the Champions League meeting between the sides.

“Nobody has said anything to me,” Simeone confirmed when asked if Courtois might sit out the game against his parent club.

“And unless the President or Miguel Angel Gil comes and tells me not to play him…”

Tags Diego Simeone