Atletico gearing up nicely: Simeone

MADRID • Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone sent a warning shot to Champions League quarter-final opponents Leicester as he believes his side have hit top form for the most decisive part of the season.

Simeone's men brushed aside Sevilla 3-1 on Sunday just five days after Leicester dumped the latter out of the Champions League last 16.

"Since the start of 2017, we have been improving," said Simeone, who has led Atletico to four Champions League quarter-finals in a row.

"We are defending better and possibly today was our most consistent performance on the ball."

Diego Godin headed the hosts in front at a buoyant Vicente Calderon before Antoine Griezmann's free-kick doubled Atletico's lead.

Koke added Atletico's third and despite Joaquin Correa's consolation, Atletico close to within two points of Sevilla in third in La Liga.

On top of their Champions League exit, Sevilla have now failed to win their last three La Liga games to fall out of the title race.

"It is normal when you don't achieve what you want, there is frustration and bitterness," said Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli.

However, Simeone hinted that, given the plaudits that have come Sevilla's way this season, Atletico's consistency in challenging Spain's big two in Real Madrid and Barcelona deserves more recognition.

"Sevilla have had a magnificent season and have been lauded by the press.

"That highlights even more how well Atletico played. That provides us with the calm we need to look forward confidently."

Atletico will face Leicester at home in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals on April 13.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2017, with the headline 'Atletico gearing up nicely: Simeone'. Print Edition | Subscribe