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Thursday, March 28, 2013
Simeone still targeting second

Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says splitting Barcelona and Real Madrid in this season's final Primera Division table would be a huge achievement given the difference in resources between his club and Spain's big two.

Although Barcelona have built a commanding lead in the table, Atletico have spent most of the current season in second spot, until a recent uneven run of form saw them overtaken by city rivals Madrid.

With ten games now left to play Barca have a 13-point advantage at the top, but just one point separates the two clubs from Spain's capital, and Simeone feels that securing second is still a realistic aim for his side.

"It does not bother us seeing Barcelona so far ahead, because the reality is there are many millions of euros of difference in budgets," the Argentine coach told reporters after training on Wednesday. "You can look at Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Champions League and then us, with the tools we have, trying to get in between the two. We need to make the most of what we have, and from there, see where that brings us. There are still 30 points to play for."

Valencia have been La Liga's third team for the last three seasons, but currently sit in fifth place, a full 15 points behind Atletico, ahead of the two clubs' meeting at the Estadio Vicente Calderon on Sunday evening.

Simeone said he expected the two sides, both recently knocked out of European competition, to be well up for the game considering their respective important goals for the remainder of the season.

"Valencia still have the same [good] players, their results have improved," he said. "They are fighting to get where they should be given the squad they have. They will be a tough opponent, because they have one of the best squads in La Liga. We will be two teams with ambitions, us to keep the place we have and them to keep climbing up the league. It will surely be a game full of commitment."

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