BARCELONA (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin has hit out at the media’s labelling of his team’s playing style as violent ahead of the crunch Madrid derby with Real where defeat could well end their bid to retain the La Liga title.
Diego Simeone’s side have been playing well but the loss against Barcelona last month means that they are seven points off Real at the top and three adrift of the Catalan side.
They were also knocked out of the King’s Cup by Barcelona where they tried to unsettle their opponents with their physical game and criticism of their style of play has resurfaced ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Real.
Godin though feels that they have been unfairly treated in the media.
“Of course all this talk is tiring and we don’t believe these stories. I don’t know from who or where they come from,” the Uruguayan told a news conference.
“We compete and we have been doing so for several years. Everything that we have won has been the result of work, effort and being committed but not violent. This talk has to stop.”
For years the Madrid derby was almost a foregone conclusion as Atletico struggled to compete with their more illustrious rival but Simeone has instilled a new belief that helped them win the championship last season and also reach the Champions League final.
They were beaten in the Lisbon final by Real but they have had the better of Carlo Ancelotti’s side since starting with a victory in the domestic Super Cup.
They also came out on top in the league and knocked them out of the King’s Cup.
“When I first came here we were not able to win but now we look at the games in a special way and with optimism,” added Godin.
“The dynamic has changed in the last few years. Atletico is more competitive and has been able to fight against Madrid and Barca.”
Atletico will aim to take advantage of Real’s injury woes with Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez both limping off in their La Liga victory over Sevilla on Wednesday while Marcelo is suspended.
With Pepe and Luka Modric also in the treatment room, Ancelotti will have a selection headache.
Meanwhile, in-form Barcelona will be waiting to pounce against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday to close the gap at the top if there is a slip-up from Real.
Editing by Sudipto Ganguly