Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has demanded more from his side in the second half of the season despite looking down on Spanish football’s perennial powerhouses Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Thomas Partey’s late winner in a 1-0 victory over Levante on Saturday moved Los Rojiblancos two points clear of European champions Barcelona at the top of the table, albeit having played a game more.
Real meanwhile trail their city rivals by five points ahead of their trip to Valencia on Sunday.
Atletico’s success so far this season has been built on a rock solid defence that has conceded just eight goals in 18 league games.
An 11th clean sheet of the campaign was needed to see of bottom of the table Levante, though, as their struggle for goals continued as big summer signings Jackson Martinez and Luciano Vietto again failed to find the net.
And Simeone is well aware his side need more firepower to have any chance of repeating their incredible feat of beating Barca and Madrid to the title two years ago.
“We have one game to go until the end of the first half of the season, but leading the league will not distract us from the improvements we need,” said Simeone.
“I think we can play better, have more speed in our game, be more decisive, consistent, make better choices in the final third and score more goals. That is what concerns me.”
Simeone certainly won’t be lacking for options in the coming months despite Atletico’s involvement on three fronts as they have also reached the last 16 of the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
Argentine internationals Augusto Fernandez and Matias Kranevitter will be free to feature for the first time against Rayo Vallecano in the Cup in midweek after completing moves from Celta Vigo and River Plate respectively.