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Juanfran: Atletico Madrid can improve

Diego Simeone's men sit at the summit of the Spanish top flight, and hold an away-goal advantage over second-placed Barcelona as they head into the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tied at 1-1.

And Juanfran believes Atleti, who battled to a 1-0 victory over Villarreal on Saturday, can build on what has already been a successful season.

"By the end of the season we will be better than Saturday, with more hope," he told Mundo Deportivo. "I am convinced that we will have an incredible end to the season.

"(Villarreal) was a very hard and difficult game. We put in great effort against Barcelona (on Tuesday) and on Saturday had to do it again.

"We noticed tiredness in some phases of games but we make up for it with enthusiasm and heart, and this team has a lot of heart."

Atleti are one point clear of Barca in the race for the title, with local rivals Real a further two points back, and Juanfran insists his side will need to fight for every point until the end of the campaign.

"We defend the points we have with all we have, with a great deal of effort," he continued. "The three points were very valuable because Villarreal are a very good team and we stay as leaders, which is most important.

"We showed at the weekend that we are a great team. I don’t know if we’re the best team but we run the most and work the most.

"We need the support of our people. They can see that we left everything on every ball and we have the same goal as they do, to achieve great things."