Simeone expecting stern Elche challenge

Diego Simeone is expecting Atletico Madrid to be sternly tested when they visit struggling Elche in La Liga on Saturday.

Elche have won just two of their 13 league outings so far this season and currently occupy a place in the bottom three alongside Cordoba and Deportivo La Coruna.

Atletico triumphed 2-0 in both matches last season and come into the clash in form, having won all four of their previous games in all competitions.

Despite Elche having tasted victory just once in their past 10 league games, Simeone is steeling himself for a difficult fixture.

"We know the difficulties that occur for an away team and the excitement and the need of the rivals, which are the same as ours," he said.

"Beyond the intensity, we need to understand and interpret the match and find where we think we are able to hurt them the most.

"They have two very good forwards [Jonathas and Cristian Herrera], they are the focal point.

"The two players who play up top are very interesting. And that is why the team plays with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2.

"Anyway, I imagine that the focal points will be the strikers because of the talent those players have. I think it will be a tough and difficult match and we need to play very intensely to take the game where we want it to go.

"Regarding the path we are on, I think that the team is improving and growing, which makes us competitive in all the competitions."