Diego Simeone admits it is ‘impossible’ for Atletico Madrid to stop Barcelona’s Lionel Messi but insists his side can still win the title.
Atleti are Messi’s second-favourite opponents in La Liga, the Argentine having scored 27 goals in his 35 previous meetings with Los Colchoneros.
“We’ve made it not impossible because we keep winning and cutting the deficit, but it’s very difficult to win the title,” the Coach said at a Press conference.
“The objective is the same as always, to reach the last five games with options to win the title. If we get there like this, we’ll have a chance.
“Our objective is to improve ourselves, and from there we’ve always competed on all fronts. Our objective was, is and will be to compete, and we are.
“It’s an important game against a team, whose numbers speak for themselves. They resolved the problems they had after losing Neymar excellently.
“They’ve changed their system and it’s yielding results, teaching everyone that Barcelona can also play in a 4-4-2.
“They’re doing very well, they’re unbeaten and they’re having a fantastic season. This match will be decided like all the others we’ve played against Barca, by details.
“We’re travelling as if we were going to Villarreal, Sevilla or Leganes. There are 12 games left for relegation, the Europa League, Champions League and the title to be decided.
“Therefore, the points are always very important. Having a lead makes you handle everything left in front of you better, and they have the advantage.
“Stopping Messi? Stopping a player like Leo, who’s in an extraordinary run of form, there’s no strategy that can control something impossible.
“Still, the game brings together different situations and I’ve always said that a lot can happen in a game. We have to take the game to where we can hurt them.
“Griezmann? He’s extraordinary when he’s at this level. He’s one of the best. The present puts him in an ideal place, and everything will depend on what he wants.
“Since his arrival, except for the first few months, when he was still adapting, he’s been very consistent, and that’s the most difficult thing for these types of players.
“They are what they are for being consistent and don’t tire of scoring goals or winning.”