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Problems at right-back: Juanfran out, Vrsaljko returns to training

Atletico Madrid have more to play for in LaLiga than it seems

Atletico Madrid v Eibar - Copa Del Rey Quarter-final: First Leg Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid travel to Espanyol with their eyes on a third Champions League semi-final in four years. They will do so without a right-back, however, after Juanfran Torres was ruled out with a thigh injury.

Sime Vrsaljko, who was supposed to be out for the season with a knee injury, had his injury reassessed and it was then confirmed that the injury was not as bad as believed. He returned to training on Thursday with a knee support but will not be able to make it in time for the trip to Espanyol.

Stefan Savic could deputise in Juanfran’s place but Jose Gimenez is also an option in that position if Simeone does not want to mess up his centre-back partnership of Godin and the Montenegrin.

Atletico are three points ahead of Sevilla in third place of the league but sit seven behind Barcelona. Luis Enrique’s side play REal Madrid in El Clasico at the weekend away from home and, with little or nothing to play for, and with a new manager arriving in the summer, would be excused for lacking focus on the last couple of games of the season.

While Atletico are battling with themselves and Sevilla, who have fallen out of form, finishing second ahead of Barcelona would be a massive boost for a side hoping to keep their best players and make sure they enter next season, in their new stadium, with positive vibes around the club.