‘Atleti can’t afford to lose’

Atletico Madrid Coach Diego Simeone has said his side can’t afford to drop points with Real Madrid and Barcelona on their tail.

Simeone watched on as a Raul Garcia goal gave his side a 1-0 win over Valencia at Mestalla and extended Atletico’s lead at the top of the table to six points prior to Barca’s game at Villarreal.

“We have two big rivals behind us and we can’t afford to lose,” Marca reports Simeone as saying post-match.

“This was an important win, with a great attitude and we fought nobly to win the game.

“Valencia were very intense, active, but I imagined they would be.

“I knew we were going to have a very tough first 30 minutes.

“Atletico have gone from low to high. Every game is difficult, complicated, and requires a lot of effort.”

Simeone added that he will now turn his attention to the Champions League semi-final second-leg against Chelsea.

“Starting tomorrow we focus on the Champions League,” Simeone confirmed.

“Chelsea have a great team. They rotated half their team today and won [beating Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield].

“They will create many problems on Wednesday.”

Simeone also paid tribute to Garcia, praising the midfielder for turning around his Atletico career this season.

“He is a living example of effort, work and love,” Simeone said.

“Everything that has happened this season is no coincidence.”

Simeone’s future was also raised and he insisted he wouldn’t be leaving Vicente Calderon after being linked to the vacancy at Manchester United.

“I have a four-year contract with Atletico and we’re fine here,” he said.

Tags Diego Simeone