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'Our objective is third place' says Simeone

21 August 2014, 18:05

Barcelona - Diego Simeone has played down the chances of Atletico Madrid repeating their La Liga triumph this season.

Atletico matched Real Madrid and Barcelona all the way in 2013/14 and won the title with a draw at the Nou Camp on the final day. They also reached the Champions League final where they were beaten by Real.

"I do not like to lie to people and one thing is clear: we cannot compete with Madrid and Barcelona," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Our rivals will be Sevilla, Valencia and Athletic (Bilbao), our objective is third place."

It is a similar tactic to the one that the Atletico manager used last season when he refused to accept his side were title challengers until the very end.

Atletico have sold several players, including their talismanic striker Diego Costa, but they have reinforced well and showed in the 1-1 draw with Real in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup that they will again be tough to beat.

"We are putting together the group and we have changed, above all in attack," said Simeone.

"I look at it as a new start especially in attack because the team is different. Mandzukic, Jimenez and Griezmann are different to Costa, Villa and Adrian.

"We have, though, kept the same solid structure which is the base of the team, but we are now looking for the best style to adopt with this. We have to have patience.

"We are the champions but the players are not the same and we are in a different league to Barca and Madrid."

Simeone said Atletico would always operate on a different level to Barca and Real.

"We don't have a system that allows us to spend 80 million euros on one player, we have spent 100 million euros on all. (Barcelona's) Messi, Neymar and Suarez are three of the best five players in the world.

"Real have brought in Kroos and James (Rodriguez) while Bale is now stronger. They have improved from last year.

"It is understandable to want to repeat what happened last year but you have to remember that we hadn't won the league for 18 years. It is not something we win every year."

Also read: Ronaldo fit for Super Cup decider

- Reuters


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