Diego Simeone glad to make fans proud
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says the best thing about his side’s fantastic start to the season is the happiness he has seen on the faces of the club’s fans as a result.
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Atletico continued their superb start to the campaign with an 11th win in 12 La Liga games after beating Athletic Bilbao 2-0 on Sunday afternoon to remain just a point behind leaders Barcelona, and five ahead of third-placed Real Madrid.
And Simeone, who continues to deflect any questions about his team as potential title winners, told reporters at the Estadio Vicente Calderon afterwards he was pleased that Colchoneros supporters were walking around smiling at the moment.
“The team had a good rhythm,” Simeone said. “After the first 15 minutes there was a real dominance. Being where we are fills us with pride. The best thing is to see the fans happy on the street.”
Atletico forward Adrian Lopez, who has spent much of the last 12 months on the bench, had his best game for some time on Sunday -- playing a key role in the move which led to David Villa’s opening goal.
“If he is left sitting beside me [on the sidelines] it is very difficult for him to improve,” Simeone said. “The only way for him to grow is to give him moments, and he is showing that he is a distinctive player. The game changed with his one-two with Juanfran.”
Diego Costa’s superb second goal of the game put the newly-declared Spain player back level with Cristiano Ronaldo on 13 goals at the head of La Liga’s pichichi top-scorer race.
And Simeone said the bustling striker’s all-round game was just as important as him scoring.
“[Costa] was enormous,” he said. “As well as the goal, he is growing in his support play, in recovering the ball… He makes the team play better.”
Koke -- after notching his seventh assist of the Liga season when giving the pass for Costa’s goal -- said that Atletico’s players were following their boss’ lead in not thinking about a title challenge just yet.
“We felt really good, but always the most important thing is to win,” he said. “We are not thinking about the battle for the league. As Simeone said, until the last five weeks we will not be focusing on the title. We must take advantage of this moment [of form] to keep winning games.”
The Basque visitors began the game well, but were eventually steamrollered into submission by another complete Atletico performance.
And defender Diego Godin talked of “focus” and a “serious” attitude during his post-match comments to reporters.
“It is a very important win, as they all are,” Godin said. “We knew it was going to be tough, but we started off very focused and showed that we have players who can win games. More than the result, we stick to the sensations we have given. We were very serious and did not let them create any chances. It was important to win to remain up top.”