“This is normal,” Simeone said Saturday night after a goalless draw at Getafe. “We have been first almost all season, they said Barcelona weren’t good and they went to Paris and could have won, they have a new president, enthusiasm and hope, and Madrid always go out to win in every game.
“We have two monsters behind us who want to be where we are.”
Atlético still sit in first after the draw at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, but with a diminishing gap at the top. Real Madrid beat Elche earlier on Saturday, and Barcelona don’t play until Monday night when Huesca will visit Camp Nou. Simeone’s men remain top of LaLiga on 63 points, with Real Madrid on 57 and Barcelona on 56 (with the game against Huesca pending). The rojiblancos have won two of their past five games, with two draws and a loss to Levante.
“I am holding onto the last four games, we drew two and won two,” Simeone said when asked about Atlético’s form. “We beat Villarreal and Athletic Club and we drew with Real Madrid when we could have won, and then today we played very well in the second half.
“The first half wasn’t what we had hoped. In the second, we had lots of chances and we weren’t clinical enough.”
Atlético play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night but Simeone didn’t appear too concerned about that tilt, playing a full-strength XI against Getafe. It seems the objective now is LaLiga, with Atlético trailing 1-0 in their Champions League tie against an improving Thomas Tuchel-led side.
“We are going into the Chelsea game with good feelings,” Simeone said. “We are first in LaLiga, playing well, have a good rhythm. The guys are responding well.”
Atlético’s next five games in LaLiga include Alavés (H), Sevilla (A), Real Betis (A), Huesca (H) and Athletic again (A). Simeone will only entertain thoughts of the next game, on Wednesday against Chelsea, before tackling the one after that. There are 11 games left to play and 33 points up for grabs, with Madrid and Barça gaining.