la liga reaction

Atletico boss Resino taking nothing for granted

May 24, 2009

Atletico Madrid coach Abel Resino was keen to dispel any thoughts the hard work was over for his side after they moved to within one point of a Champions League spot.

Not so long ago Atletico's hopes of a top-four finish looked slim, but a run of seven wins in eight matches culminating in last night's 4-1 defeat of Athletic Bilbao means the Rojiblancos now have a Champions League berth in their grasp.

They are two points ahead of fifth-placed Villarreal with one game remaining, and also boast the better head-to-head record against the Yellow Submarine this season.

That means that Atletico only have to avoid defeat at home to Almeria next weekend to return to the Champions League, irrespective of what Villarreal do in their match at Real Mallorca.

Atletico appear to be holding all the aces, but Resino is remaining cautious.

"We haven't got anything in our pockets. Football is unpredictable," he said.

"It's true that we've taken a giant step, but now we have to finish things off because if we don't then none of this will be worth anything. The true final will be next week."

Striker Diego Forlan was Atletico's hero at San Mames, netting three times in the last 17 minutes to take his recent tally to 11 goals in seven games.

The hat-trick also moved Forlan on to 31 league goals for the season, putting him two above Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o in the Primera Division scoring charts, and also leaving him on course to win the European Golden Boot.

The Uruguayan admits he would love to win those two awards but insists it is the success of the team that matters most to him, saying: "The group is what's important. Goals are important to help the team, but the main thing is the group.

"It would be fantastic to win the Golden Boot and for the team to finish in Champions League spots."