LNTUP

Diego Simeone speaks on City Rivals

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Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone insists La Liga leaders Barcelona are still not as good as Real Madrid. Ernesto Valverde’s table-toppers opened campaign with seven straight wins.

Barcelona visit Atletico’s new Wanda Metropolitano home for the first time on Saturday night with a five-point lead over second-placed Sevilla. Ernesto Valverde’s table-toppers have opened their campaign with seven straight wins.

Wanda Metropolitano hosts its biggest occasion so far as Barcelona visit Atletico Madrid with both unbeaten in La Liga something has to give. However Atletico boss Simeone told a pre-match press conference: ‘Barcelona are one of the best teams in the world, but Real Madrid are better now.

‘Barca have reinvented themselves after the departure of Neymar. They do not stop wanting to win. They have a winning gene, they do not get tired.’

Atletico have not beaten Barcelona in 14 league games – a run stretching back to February 2010. Simeone has lost eight of his 11 league games since his appointment in December 2011, but he insists Atletico have always done themselves justice in the fixture.

‘We have not beaten Barcelona in the league, but we’ve always played well against them,’ Simeone said.

‘We tied the most important one, that was the one that gave us La Liga and we have knocked them out twice in the Champions League.

‘They did not beat us by chance, they are very good. But we have been more forceful in the Champions League and let’s hope we can end that run in LaLiga.’

Atletico defenders Filipe Luis and Lucas Hernandez missed the goalless draw at Leganes before the international break, but both players have recovered from their hamstring injuries and are available.