Simone says Atletico Madrid face a monster challenge in LaLiga

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Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone acknowledged it will be a challenge for his side to overcome LaLiga "monsters" Real Madrid and Barcelona next season.

Simeone's side rounded off their domestic campaign with a 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad on Sunday which secured third place in the table.

Atleti, however, finished 12 points behind second-placed Barcelona and 17 adrift of LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

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Simeone was under pressure earlier in the season before an unbeaten run from February ensured they secured a top-four finish.

"Year after year the responsibility grows and the demand also," Simeone said in a media conference after the game against Sociedad at the Wanda Metropolitano.

"The criticism is a consequence of what the team can give and what others can imagine is possible.

"I think we compete very well against teams like Sociedad, Getafe, Sevilla. And then there are two monsters such as Barcelona and Real Madrid."

Simeone believes regular Champions League football is essential to any hopes of breaking the stranglehold on LaLiga.

He continued: "We compete with two teams who must win the Champions League, LaLiga, Super Cup … so we are always looking for our own space and place, and we will keep going until we have our own chance.

"This season it is objective accomplished. I understand since I arrived the needs of the club that it is to be in the Champions League. I feel more a responsibility.

"For this we need regularity, in order to have important players and stability.

"With all the changes to the team it is strong. It looks competitive and I am glad that there will not be so many changes for next season because we have an important squad."

Simeone's players will now turn their attention to next month's Champions League, where they will meet Bundesliga side RB Leipzig in the quarter-finals.

They head into the mini tournament in Lisbon having not tasted defeat since the restart.

Atleti captain Koke, who scored in their 1-1 draw with Sociedad, claimed his team-mates have the belief to finally end their European Cup hoodoo.

"We are going to think of Leipzig as if it were the final. We are very excited and eager for it," he said.

"We have a very good streak of form at the moment and hopefully it will continue in the Champions League and we can win it."

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