Atletico Madrid v Athletic Bilbao: Torres wants more of the same

Third-placed Atletico Madrid host Athletic Bilbao in an intriguing La Liga encounter on Saturday.

Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres has urged his side to keep focused on their UEFA Champions League goal ahead of Saturday's home clash with Athletic Bilbao.

Torres scored the sole goal on Wednesday as Atletico recorded a hard-earned victory over Villarreal that sent them six points clear of fourth-placed Sevilla in La Liga.

The top three sides in Spain automatically qualify for next season's Champions League group stages and, with just four matches of the season remaining, Diego Simeone's men are well-placed to achieve that feat.

Winning at Villarreal, who sit sixth, was seen as significant in that bid, although Atleti will face a Bilbao side unbeaten in three games.

And Torres said accumulation of points is still his side's focus.

"Adding points is important to bring us closer to our objective," Torres told Canal+.

"[Wins] bring us closer to the objective. We know that for us, for the year coming, and for the club, it is essential to be in the Champions League.

"The sooner we begin to add points and reach that goal, the better it will be for everyone."

The Spanish striker has battled for league goals at Atletico but his winner on Wednesday was his second of the season.

Atletico, knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals by archrivals Real Madrid last week, are unbeaten in 11 La Liga fixtures.

They have recorded three successive wins, conceding just one goal in the process.

Bilbao, who sit eighth, were held to a 1-1 draw against a 10-man Real Sociedad on Tuesday.

Aritz Aduriz scored in that match, continuing his excellent season. The forward has bagged 15 goals in 28 league fixtures.

Atletico have won the last five encounters between the two sides, including a 4-1 road win earlier this season. Antoine Griezmann scored a hat-trick on that occasion.

Bilbao's last win at Atletico came in January 2011, when Gaizka Toquero scored both goals in a 2-0 triumph.