Diego Simeone has played down comparisons between his current Atletico Madrid team and the one which were crowned Spanish champions last season.
The title holders were forced to rebuild their squad prior to the incumbent campaign, having lost the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Filipe Luis and Diego Costa to Chelsea.
Consequently, Los Colchoneros have struggled to show the same consistency in La Liga this term, but Cholo hit back with a staunch defence of his new-look side.
“There are a lot of games and you must see out the League first before you can summarise how [the season] went,” he said at a Press conference ahead of Atleti’s trip to Espanyol on Saturday.
“To [the journalists] who like to compare this team to last season’s, something which has never crossed my mind, I think we have six points less than last season.
“We’re having a great season, [and the next few weeks] will determine how we finish [in the table].
“These dates are important to see how a team like ours have once more reinvented themselves and continue to compete.
“Hopefully we can maintain the consistency we had in the first half against Valencia with the way we usually play and what makes us [Atleti]. Undoubtedly, we can be a tough team.
“I have some doubts over Arda Turan and Raul Garcia, but I’ll resolve them [before the match].
“It’s impossible to think beyond the match [against Espanyol] because we would draw our line forever.
“Espanyol are a very competitive team, who have many similar things to us. They play well down the wings and have adopted a good passing game.
“In attack, they have a lot of speed with Sergio Garcia, Felipe Caicedo and Cristian Stuani. They’re a dangerous team, so they require us to be at a good level [of performance].”