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Simeone unworried by Malaga setback

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone claimed to be unworried by the fact his side missed the chance to claim top spot in La Liga by losing 1-0 to Malaga.

With Barcelona at the Club World Cup, the visitors knew that even a point at La Rosaleda would be enough to see them replace the Catalan giants as league leaders.

But instead, a heavily-deflected, 86th-minute goal from Brazilian striker Charles condemned them to their first defeat in 16 games.

Atletico also lost Gabi to a red card early in the second half as they were beaten.

But while admitting his side were second best, Simeone insisted he was untroubled by the positional ramifications of the defeat.

"It doesn't worry me at all," he said.

"When a team plays well and the other team can't find a way through, they lose the game.

"We won't look for excuses.

"It would be easy to do so to justify why we didn't play well today.

"But we must congratulate our opponents because they played an intense match and won well."

The Argentinean also refused to use Gabi's dismissal as an excuse for his side's defeat.

The defensive midfielder picked up two yellow cards in the space of just five minutes shortly after the break, the second for a handball.

"The referee saw it," said Simeone. "He'd already been booked, there's nothing to say about it.

"We're not looking for excuses; Malaga played better."

Atletico return to action on December 30 when they visit Rayo Vallecano, who were thumped 10-2 by Real Madrid earlier on Sunday.