Simeone remains calm after first win over Barca

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Los Colchoneros produced a solid display at Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday (AEDT) to defeat Ronald Koeman's misfiring Barca and move into second in LaLiga, behind only Real Sociedad – which has played a game more – by virtue of scoring two goals fewer.

That victory, achieved without former Barcelona striker and now Atletico's current equal top scorer Luis Suarez,  extended the host's unbeaten run to 24 games in LaLiga and opened up a nine-point gap between itself and Barca.

With defending champion Real Madrid also failing to inspire much confidence, having rarely impressed this season and been held by Villarreal earlier in the day, Atletico looks like many people's favourite for the title.

Atletico has not won it since 2013-2014, its first for 18 years at the time, but Simeone is keeping his feet on the ground.

When asked if he saw similarities with his previous title-winning team, Simeone said: "No, I don't see them."

But Atletico's improvement from 2019-2020 is not lost on the Argentinian, who added: "The most important things we value about the growth of footballers from last season to this one is being seen.

"We are working better on the pitch, we are being more complicit to share what the team needs and we see it.

"We need everyone. Felipe, who played much more continuously last season; Renan Lodi, who will surely be important; [Geoffrey] Kondogbia enters little by little; Saul [Niguez] is finding his best form; [Angel] Correa is showing extraordinary growth, not to mention Joao Felix or [Diego] Costa's enthusiasm when he came on.

"The group generates enthusiasm for me, because I see them wanting to look for important things, game by game."

The win saw Atletico end a run of 20 consecutive LaLiga matches without a victory over Barcelona, while Simeone had not beaten the Blaugrana in 17 previous league meetings.

But despite the momentous victory, Simeone remained reserved and dismissed its importance.

"Football is game by game," he said. "Sometimes we have to win and sometimes we have to lose, in the previous games [against Barca] we had always been close to winning, aside from in the Supercopa in Saudi Arabia.

"Today we won, that does not change the plan of what is sought. I'm very happy with the team's effort."