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Simeone keen to show “what this Atleti is capable of”

Logotipo de AS AS 16/05/2014 Dani Hidalgo

What is the general mood going into this match?

The feelings are good. It feels like we are on the cusp of an important game – as it usually does whenever we meet Barcelona, but even more than usual because this time, both of us have the chance to end the league in the best possible place – in top spot.

How would you rate Atlético’s season up until now?

I always do my talking at the end of the season, when the campaign is over. Anything that you might say along the way may be nice but we only ever look to the next game. When it’s all over, we can start putting labels on how the campaign has gone, the coaching staff, the players... I only live for today and tomorrow we’re in for a very tough game.

How is the team dealing with the run-up to this match?

The game in itself is a source of motivation for the players. They’ve been working very hard. We’ll be looking for the best solutions; I hope we can show what we can do out on the pitch –actions, not words, are what count.

Gabi said that what is important is not who might deserve to win league, it’s about the team that goes on to win it... do you agree?

Absolutely. 100 per cent.

Throughout the campaign you have constantly rejected the idea that Atlético are viable candidates to win the league...

 All the way through the campaign I could never have imagined that we would hold a seven-point advantage over Real Madrid and be six points clear of Barça. But even while they have been off the pace in the past few weeks, Barça have never stopped competing and you have to admire them for that. In normal circumstances, you’d expect them to win every time and it’s clear that that competitiveness that Barça and Madrid give you is very important.

Some believe that Martino will be making tactical changes for this game...

I think Barça are dangerous regardless of the system they use or which players they field – with Alexis and the options they have on both wings. They have a lot of variations to their game and that’s what has made them so dangerous over the past decade. They are a side which is used to attacking. We need to put in a good game, we all know that”.

How is Diego Costa?

He’s fine. He trained as normal today and he will start the game.

What kind of game are you expecting?

© Proporcionado por AS

I don’t think that it will be a game which is resolved quickly. I expect Barça to start strong; I am expecting to see probably the best version of Barça we have seen this season. They are at home and they have an unbelievable squad. We’ll be up against a Barcelona side showing their toughest side. We know what we’re facing; we know our virtues and our defects.

How can you make sure that your players don’t get distracted by next week’s Champions League final?

Right at this moment, nobody is thinking about next week, because we have full respect for our next game – it’s a final for the league title and that’s something you don’t often see.

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