ATLETICO Madrid boss Diego Simeone believes the club have become a victim of their own success after being criticised for losing two of their last three games.
The Spanish champions were beaten by Celta Vigo in La Liga and lost away to Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie either side of a home win over Almeria.
Atletico are now seven points adrift of leaders Real Madrid in the Spain’s top flight and Simeone understands expectations are greater now as a result of their success in recent years.
He said: “I don’t listen, I don’t watch sports television programmes and I try to shut myself off whether we win or lose.
“There are always extremes of opinion. It’s normal that after a defeat or a bad game we get torn apart. We have earned the position that every loss or poor performance is strongly criticised after our three years of success.”
Sevilla are next up on Sunday and defeat to the fifth-placed side would cut the gap between the two sides to just five points.
“We are going to play a team that is playing really well,” Simeone added.
“They have been working well together for two consecutive seasons. It’s an important game.
“Sevilla try to play in your half. Vitolo, Carlos Bacca and Jose Antonio Reyes are good players who can open you up. We have to be strong in the middle.”
Simeone will welcome back midfielder Koke from injury on Sunday and the Argentine admitted the 23-year-old brings unique qualities to his side.
“We need him,” said the coach. “He is different and has a good understanding of the game. We will see if he starts, he might well do.”
Fernando Torres will hope to continue his revival after impressing since returning to the club where he started his career. The striker joined on an 18-month loan deal from Chelsea in January and has cut a rejuventated figure having already scored three goals.
Simeone credited him with raising the performance levels of several other key players in attack.
He continued: “The arrival of Torres has benefited Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic. They have improved a lot since December. When we have to use him, we hope to see his speed, authority and goals.”