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Complicated for Atleti to compete with top two - Simeone

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone conceded that it is difficult for Atletico Madrid to compete with Barcelona and Real Madrid after seeing the Catalans win La Liga at the Vicente Calderon.

A second-half strike from Lionel Messi gave Barca a 1-0 victory at Atletico that saw them regain the league title won by Simeone's men at Camp Nou on the same day last year.

Atletico have been left to battle for a place in the UEFA Champions League, while Barca and Real have fought it out for the top prize.

The defeat to Barca means Atletico are still not sure of third place, with Valencia, who have a better head-to-head record, just three points behind in fourth with a game to go.

"Before all else I'd like to congratulate the champions. They are deserved winners," Simeone said in quotes reported by AS.

"It must be nice for them to reclaim the trophy after having missed out last season. We lost because of moment of genius from Messi.

"In 50 years, we've won two leagues. We have a lot of work to do. We are fighting to finish third; it's very complicated to end as league champions.

"We will try to compete with the weapons we have. But looking at it realistically, we are still involved in an internal tournament of our own with Sevilla and Valencia. 

"We are still three points above Valencia. We have a wonderful final weekend of football to look forward to; the adrenalin will be pumping at every ground around Spain because the relegation battle will be decided.

"I'd have settled to have got this far back at the start of the season."