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Diego Simeone spoke of his gratitude for coaching Atletico Madrid after winning for the 300th time in charge of the club but is not letting milestones affect his focus, acknowledging the hierarchy could dismiss him at a moment’s notice.

Atletico produced a complete display on Tuesday as they beat high-flying Real Sociedad 2-0 in San Sebastian to go three points clear at LaLiga’s summit.

It was their ninth clean sheet in 13 league games this term, while only in 1995-96 had they conceded fewer goals (four) at this stage of the season than in 2020-21 (five).

The victory means Simeone – in charge since 2011 – is only eight adrift of Luis Aragones’ all-time club record of 308 wins across all competitions.

And Simeone acknowledged reaching such an impressive figure was a source of pride.

“It means a lot,” he told reporters. “I came to the club with the idea of leading Atletico to the top of this game.

“I was committed to all my people, to the footballers. I have to thank Miguel [Angel Gil, Atletico CEO] and Enrique [Cerezo, club president] for bringing me to the club.

“In my head and in my mind, the day I left as a player I knew I was going to come back.

“I prepared myself for what is happening, but I also know that they could kick me out tomorrow.

“We have to consolidate the growth of the club, but for this we need reality. The only thing that counts is when the game starts and the team must show its worth.”

But in typical Simeone fashion, he entertained no suggestions of being title favourites, reminding reporters there were still 25 matches left for Atletico.

“You already know me, I will be recurrent with what I think, but what matters to us is the next game,” he added.

“The work being done is very good, but we must vindicate it now against Getafe.

“There are 25 games to go. We take it game by game, game by game, game by game.”

Atletico sit three points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid, who play Granada on Wednesday. After that game, Simeone’s side will once again have two games in hand on the defending champions.

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December 23, 2020
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