Football

Published: Saturday March 29, 2014 MYT 2:38:33 AM
Updated: Saturday March 29, 2014 MYT 2:39:59 AM

Eat, rest, travel, play - Atletico's season-end focus

MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone is thinking about nothing else apart from four basic tasks as the La Liga leaders prepare for their remaining eight matches of the campaign, the Argentine said on Friday.

"I am focused only on what we have to do, which is eat, rest, travel and play," Simeone told a news conference ahead of Atletico's match at fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

"We are approaching each game as if it is a final because it's the only way we will get close to close to the goal we set ourselves at the start of the season," added the 43-year-old, who was an Atletico player the last time they won La Liga in 1996.

Simeone has transformed the team since taking over at the end of 2011 and they are tantalisingly close to causing a huge upset in a league that has been increasingly dominated by Real Madrid and Barcelona over the past decade.

Atletico, who have about a fifth of the resources of their wealthier rivals, have 73 points, with champions Barca, chasing a fifth title in six years, in second on 72 and Real third on 70 after two successive defeats.

"We all have the same chances and the same energy," Simeone said.

"Words don't count for much at the moment, deeds are what count," he added.

"Dreams are for the fans, we live in the real world and to get where we want to be we have to win."

Barca play at city rivals Espanyol in the Catalan derby on Saturday and Real are at home to another Madrid club, Rayo Vallecano.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ed Osmond)

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