Diego Simeone Insists His Focus Is Solely on Atletico Amid Questions if Real Madrid Are 'Dead' - Sports Illustrated

Diego Simeone has insisted that his sole focus is on his Atletico Madrid side, and not on the plight of his city rivals, following Real Madrid's sacking of manager Julen Lopetegui on Monday.

The 5-1 El Clasico thrashing at the hands of Barcelona was the final straw for Florentino Perez and the Real Madrid hierarchy as the European champions sacked Lopetegui just two months into the season, having only appointed the Spaniard during the summer.

Madrid have endured a tough start to life without former manager Zinedine Zidane and club icon Cristiano Ronaldo, but Diego Simeone said of the situation, via Marca: “Are Real Madrid dead? We are thinking of ourselves and of improving ourselves, rather than anyone else.

“We are seeing a competitive and exciting competition in La Liga Santander this season. You see how Alaves are competing so well, how Sevilla have responded. It is healthy for everyone.

“I want to see a competition where there are few points separating first to 10th. It is better for the fans and everyone, it is much more fun.”

Simeone insisted that his focus remains wholly on his own side’s commitments this season, with Atletico’s La Liga and Champions League involvements providing plenty of trials and tribulations of their own.

“We can only think about us and everything that happens around us,” Simeone added.

“Recently, we lost against Borussia Dortmund, which was painful, but then three days later we beat Real Sociedad, who were the best team away from home.

“It is about being strong, sharing the effort and understanding that no matter who is on the field for the next game, Atletico will be ready.”

Atletico are currently fourth in La Liga, just two points adrift of leaders Barcelona, and currently sit second below Borussia Dortmund in Champions League Group A, in what has been a generally solid start to the campaign for Simeone’s side.