MADRID: Fresh from reaching a first Champions League final in 40 years on Wednesday, Atletico Madrid insist they are already focused on their La Liga title run-in, starting with a trip to Levante on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
Atletico will face bitter neighbors Real Madrid in a historic Champions League final in Lisbon next month but in the meantime they are in the driving seat as they need just two wins from their last three games to seal their first La Liga title for 18 years.
Diego Simeone’s men are on a run of nine straight league wins and another victory away to mid-table Levante will give Los Rojiblancos the chance to wrap up the championship at home to Malaga next weekend and avoid needing to get something from their daunting visit to Barcelona on the final day of the campaign.
Even in the wake of his side’s famous 3-1 win over Chelsea, Simeone insisted he was immediately “preparing and focusing on the objective of beating Levante.”
Full-back Filipe Luis echoed his coach’s sentiments and believes they will have beaten “the best team in Europe” if they go on to win La Liga or the Champions League.
Simeone is expected to make a few changes to the side that started at Stamford Bridge with captain Gabi back from suspension and the likes of Raul Garcia and David Villa set to feature.
However, top scorer Diego Costa should be fit to start despite being withdrawn late on in midweek due to a knee injury.
Real Madrid could be nine points adrift of Atletico, albeit with two games in hand, by the time they kick-off later on Sunday at home to Valencia.
Los Blancos enjoyed a fantastic win in midweek themselves as they hammered European champions Bayern Munich 4-0 at the Allianz Arena to qualify for their first European final for 12 years.