Simeone sees Atletico chance in 'healthy' La Liga as Barcelona & Real Madrid struggle

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Four points separate the top 10 in the early season standings and the Atletico Madrid boss is optimistic for a competitive run-in

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is relishing the competitive nature of La Liga this season but remains wary of underestimating Barcelona and Real Madrid amid poor runs.

Simeone's side are fourth, just two points off the top due to a three-game winless run for defending champions Barca and rivals Madrid claiming just one victory in their last four.

With Borussia Dortmund on top in Germany and Liverpool pushing Manchester City in England, Simeone is glad to see some unpredictability in the domestic game across Europe.

However, the Atleti coach is not taking their title rivals' unconvincing form for granted.

"All the leagues except Serie A, where Juventus set the pace, are very competitive," he told a news conference ahead of Sunday's clash with Real Betis.

"That's very healthy because it gives alternatives and possibilities to everyone.

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"From the World Cup, teams have interpreted that there are other ways of playing - you can improve in attack with a great defence.

"It is very difficult to analyse such a long season in 10 days. We want to be strong match by match. The team has been growing since Vigo [where Atleti last lost to Celta Vigo on September 1].

"We do not have to look elsewhere - we are more consistent ourselves. There are moments of domination and, from there, the individuals are better and there is more quality."

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