Monday, 3 March 2014

Atletico title hopes still alive, declares Simeone

Atletico title hopes still alive, declares Simeone
A late Cristiano Ronaldo goal snatched all three points from the Rojiblancos but the Argentine is confident that his team remain in contention
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone is adamant that his side remain in the title race despite a 2-2 draw with city rivals Real Madrid on Sunday.

After initially falling behind to Karim Benzema's third-minute goal, Atletico forged a 2-1 lead at half-time thanks to strikes from Koke and Gabi. However, Cristiano Ronaldo snatched a point for the visitors with a late goal, denying the Rojiblancos a first La Liga derby double in 63 years.

The result leaves Atletico three points behind Real in the race for the summit, but Simeone is confident that his side remain serious title contenders and was proud of his players' performance against Carlo Ancelotti's side.

"What counts is the final result," Simeone, 43, told reporters. "The team showed today it's alive in the title race. That might bother some, but we're still alive. Three points off the top with 12 games left is very good.

"We went behind but reacted really well. We started to play between the lines, press them on the shoulder and create chances.

"In the second half we were okay. We had opportunities but couldn't find the final pass to make it 3-1. The team put in great work. I'm proud of the squad."

Atletico had a number of penalty claims denied by referee Carlos Delgado, with Diego Costa felled in the area on three separate occasions.

However, Simeone refused to be drawn on the incidents, making no comment on the official, who also sent coach German Burgos to the stands after a second-half confrontation. -----------

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