Soccer-Atletico's Simeone not getting carried away with title in sight

·2-min read
La Liga Santander - Real Betis v Atletico Madrid

MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone insists his side are not getting carried away with the La Liga title in touching distance.

Atletico had a 10-point lead at the top of the table just two months ago but the chasing pack have closed the gap in recent weeks, with Simeone's men winning just two of their past five league outings.

However, they were handed a major reprieve on Thursday when Granada beat Barcelona to leave Atletico two points clear at the top of the table on 73.

Only three points separate the top four clubs, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Sevilla all in hot pursuit of the leaders.

Atletico know that winning their remaining five games - starting with a visit to Elche on Saturday - will allow the club to lift their first La Liga title since 2014.

However, Simeone said they are not thinking that far ahead.

"You're just thinking and focusing more than ever on the next game," Simeone told a news conference.

"With four sides so close together I can only think about the next game and put my confidence in the boys who are having a great season.

"There's always pressure there. If you play after and your rivals have won, there's pressure - but you can say the same if you're playing before them. You just need to focus on yourself in these situations.

"It's something new, but it's good for Spanish football that there's four sides battling it out for the title. Each game is more important than the other."

Atleti will be without fullback Renan Lodi, who has a thigh injury. Otherwise Simeone has a fully fit squad to choose from for the trip to third from bottom Elche, who sit just a point from the safety zone as the season reaches its climax.

(Reporting by Joseph Walker, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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