Diego Simeone achieved a milestone in Atletico Madrid's 0-0 draw with Espanyol in the Calderón on Saturday night, even if the result was not what the Argentinean needed in terms of the title race. Real Madrid's late equaliser against Barcelona in Camp Nou, coupled with Sevilla's loss at Granada, maintained the status quo at the top of the table, with Zinedine Zidane's side remaining six points clear of Luis Enrique's reigning champions and Atlético did not slip further behind this weekend, but the gap between Atlético and the leaders stands at nine points with 14 games played.
100 clean sheets in 188 games
However, the Calderón shut-out means that under Simeone, Atlético have now prevented the opposition from scoring on 100 occasions in 188 league games since he became manager in December 2011. Such defensive strength is what Atletico’s success has been built on in recent times, however, with a slight tweak to their style this season, employing greater focus on attacking play, the team has been more vulnerable at the back than in the past.
Simeone: "The objective is third place"
Since the five goals conceded in the games against Real Madrid and Real Sociedad though, normal service seems to have been resumed, with Atleti bouncing back with wins over PSV, Osasuna and Guijuelo without having been breached in defence once. The 0-0 draw against former Atlético manager Quique Sánchez Flores' side brought up a century of clean sheets in La Liga for Simeone, quite a remarkable achievement even if the result led the Argentinean to return to his oft-rolled out party line of his side playing for third place this season.
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