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The Blaugrana star is anticipating a tough match against the Rojiblancos but believes the threat posed by the capital side has been significantly boosted by their Argentine coach

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has hailed the impact that Diego Simeone has made on Atletico Madrid's fortunes since being appointed coach last December.

The former fans' favourite took control of the then-struggling Rojiblancos at the end of 2011 and turned around the club's fortunes by leading them to a fifth-placed finish in La Liga and a Europa League triumph.

The capital side have since continued their improvement under Simeone, occupying second place in the Spanish top flight, and the 24-year-old believes their rise towards becoming a major outfit has been aided by the Argentine's managerial nous.

"They have become a rival this season because with nearly half the season gone, they are near the top of the table," he told reporters ahead of Sunday's match between the two sides at Camp Nou.

"Atletico finished very well last season and have continued that form this term. With Simeone in charge, they have become a complete team that makes you work hard for a win."

The Spain international was also quizzed on who he felt Atleti's most potent threat would be and plumped for in-form Colombian striker Radamel Falcao.

"Falcao is a lethal player for them. We have to play our own game, but we have to give a little more to stop him," he continued.

Busquets also fixed his attentions on the festive season and revealed he hopes to begin the winter break on the back of victories in their remaining two matches.

"We have two games remaining before the winter break – our intention is to get six points and spend our holidays in a good mood," he concluded.

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