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Atletico criticism excites Simeone

Diego Simeone insists that he gets excited by criticism of Atletico Madrid because it shows his side have room for improvement.

Atleti have endured an inconsistent campaign in LaLiga this season and sit fourth after 18 matches with 34 points, six adrift of leaders and rivals Real Madrid who have a game in hand.

The capital club stumbled to a 1-0 win over Real Betis last week before comprehensively beating Eibar 3-0 in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.

Head coach Simeone concedes Atleti have not yet reached his desired level of consistency, but remains unperturbed by criticism ahead of Sunday's trip to Athletic Bilbao.

"I get excited when I see or hear criticism," Simeone said at a news conference.    

"Because criticism shows me that we can do more. I like criticism. I hope that we can find consistency in this situation.

"We are always looking to get the best out of ourselves, but the fact is that we have lacked some consistency. We have to be more consistent. LaLiga is all about consistency.

"Since Christmas, we were at our own level versus Las Palmas, then the first half against Eibar was not very good, but we improved. We did alright in the return against Las Palmas until the 85th minute. And the game against Eibar the other day was good.

"We have to focus on the game against Athletic now, they are a difficult rival, who are very strong at home."