Simeone: Champions League qualification is solely my responsibility

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Diego Simeone is ready to accept responsibility if Atletico Madrid fail to qualify for the Champions League.

On the day Atleti saw their LaLiga crown taken by bitter rivals Real Madrid, they suffered a potentially damaging 2-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.

They remained in fourth after the defeat, yet fifth-placed Real Betis can cut the gap to just a point if they overcome Getafe on Monday.

Los Colchoneros face a tough run-in that sees them play champions Madrid, Sevilla and Real Sociedad in three of their four remaining games.

Asked at a media conference if he was worried about not securing a top-four spot, Simeone said: "It occupies me. You have to know how to be in difficult moments and there have been a few in recent years.

"We will see who is up for this difficult moment. The responsibility rests with me. I am the first one responsible for whether it happens or not.

"Everyone needs to stay calm, there are four games left."

Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann

Athletic were good value for their win, which came courtesy of an early Mario Hermoso own goal and a second-half penalty from Inaki Williams.

The result meant Atleti have now failed to score in their past two LaLiga games – the first time they have done that since October 2020 when they drew blanks against Huesca and Villarreal.

Simeone had no complaints with his side's effort, though, and said there is no lack of desire to achieve a top-four spot.

"The first few minutes weren't good, then the team improved," he said. "Their first goal hit Hermoso and went in; Carrasco's strike does the same but goes wide. These are the small details that matter.

"If you see how they train, how they work and commit to doing what we say, then there is nothing to say. There is no lack of commitment or intensity.

"There is anxiety and the desire to achieve the goal of the club."

Atleti are next in action on May 8 when they host Los Blancos in El Derbi at the Wanda Metropolitano.

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