Atletico de Madrid vs Sevilla - Simeone insists Sevilla result will not define Atletico's season



Posted Saturday, March 18, 2017 by PA

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone insists the meeting with Sevilla will not define his side's LaLiga campaign, no matter what the result is at the Vicente Calderon.

The Rojiblancos lie fourth in the standings, five points behind Sunday's opponents and 10 adrift of leaders Real Madrid, prompting suggestions that defeat will signal the end of their top-three challenge once and for all.

Simeone acknowledges Jorge Sampaoli's Sevilla are the form team at present, as they defend a seven-match unbeaten run in LaLiga, but is adamant Atletico's season does not hinge on one result.

"What is clear is that we are facing a team who have been very consistent, especially in the league, and who are fighting for the top spots." the Argentinian said in quotes reported by Marca.

"We're looking for a result which makes us feel more comfortable. And from that result we will then look at the next match. But it would be premature to say that if we win we are close, and if we lose we are far away."

Atletico can at least take confidence from the fact their place in the last eight of the Champions League is assured, while Sevilla saw their European challenge ended in midweek by a surprise defeat to unfancied Leicester.

The Foxes will be Atletico's opponents in the quarter-finals but Simeone refuses to believe they will be pushovers, despite a season spent battling at the wrong end of the Premier League.

He said: "First of all they are a team who finished top of their group and were the league champions last year.

"And after Ranieri's departure they have rediscovered their form and knocked out one of the best teams in LaLiga. That speaks for itself."

Simeone will mark his 100th home match as Atletico coach on Sunday, but remains tight-lipped about his line-up.

Striker Kevin Gameiro, defender Jose Gimenez and midfielder Gabi have all been passed fit to play, but only the latter is assured of a starting spot. Gameiro will fight it out with Fernando Torres over who will play alongside Antoine Griezmann up front.

Sampaoli, meanwhile, has told his players they need to put the Leicester result to the back of their minds or it will not help their cause on Sunday, as they look to keep up the pressure on Real Madrid and Barcelona above them.

"It was a painful defeat," said the Sevilla coach on the club's website. "We were lacking details that prevented us from staying in the competition, but it was not a footballing failure.

"Now we play against Atletico, a complicated fixture for anyone. But we do not choose where we play, we simply have to play and face the challenge. And we will face an opponent who will want to make up some ground on us and the advantage we have got.

"It will be a final for them as well as us. And if we play thinking about what happened (against Leicester) we are going to suffer for it. We have to defend the position to which, with much sacrifice, we have reached."

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