Diego Simeone insists that his Atletico Madrid must focus solely on a tough test against Malaga ahead of a crucial run-in to the season.
Atleti have been drawn against Leicester City in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and Simeone’s men are also close to securing their place at Europe’s top table for next season, sat fourth in LaLiga and just two points behind third-placed Sevilla.
But ahead of a trip to Malaga, who recently appointed Michel as coach, Simeone is determined that his men do not get ahead of themselves.
“[We are thinking only of] Malaga – we don’t think about anything else or analyse any other situations because I don’t think that is productive,” he told a pre-match news conference. “We just need to play a good match against Malaga.
“They are a complete team that has surely made some changes in the past 15 days [during the international break] that they have had to train. They have a new coach and many players that play well.
“It has always been difficult for us to play against them at their stadium and I imagine it will be a well-fought match. Let’s see which way it is going to go.”
Alessio Cerci has played just 29 minutes of first-team football this season, in the Copa del Rey, and was recently pictured shopping while Atleti were playing Barcelona, but the Italian could be set to feature in the run-in.
“Cerci has been working hard for a while now,” Simeone said. “It’s true that before we weren’t really thinking about him a lot because of his physical condition.
“But [on Friday] he was doing much better. He will for sure be able to help us this season whenever I need him or the team needs him.
“In regards to the preparation for the match, we are excited and have a lot positive energy as usual. We are going to be ready to play even though we know it is a difficult team and in a place where we won’t feel very comfortable.”