Atletico Madrid captain Koke may miss his side's LaLiga clash with Real Betis on Sunday due to a hamstring problem.

The 27-year-old midfielder complained of discomfort in his right leg after Atletico's 2-0 win over Osasuna at the weekend.

Koke underwent a scan and medical staff have diagnosed a strained hamstring, Atleti confirmed in a short statement released on Tuesday.

The club have not put any timeframe on Koke's injury, with Atleti next in action away at Betis on Sunday, their final fixture before the mid-season break in Spain.

Diego Simeone's side sit fifth in LaLiga, while they were drawn to face reigning champions Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League on Monday.

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane praised the patience of his team-mates after Saturday's 2-0 win over Espanyol.

Madrid nudged clear of LaLiga title rivals Barcelona with a comfortable home victory thanks to goals from Varane and fellow Frenchman Karim Benzema.

Zinedine Zidane's side secured the points despite being reduced to 10 men in the 82nd minute after Ferland Mendy was sent off.

"It was a closely contested match against a rival that ran a lot and pressed us," Varane told Real Madrid TV.

"We had to be strong and solid at the back in order not to concede and be patient in front of goal. It was a good game from the team.

"After the second yellow card for Mendy we handled the remaining time well. We have kept a clean sheet and that is very good.

"We are playing with more confidence, at a good physical level and with a good team dynamic.

"We must continue because we have some tough games to end the year and we will give it our all."

Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde believes Madrid have been ruthless at taking their chances in recent matches.

"We are seizing the moment and enjoying playing together," he added. "Feeling the support of the fans helps us to move forward.

“The coach asks us to go for goal and get players into the area. I try to do that and as a team we did it well." 

Head coach Diego Simeone has dismissed suggestions he has lost the dressing room at Atletico Madrid.

Atleti are sixth in LaLiga after 14 matches on 25 points - six behind leaders Barcelona, who are ahead of second-placed Real Madrid on goal difference.

But Simeone played down talk he no longer has the confidence of the Atleti players following an underwhelming start to the campaign.

The 49-year-old claims such questions have been a regular feature of his tenure and was bullish at a news conference on Thursday.

"In the eight years that I have been here, it has been said that the group was not with me every year," Simeone said ahead of Friday's clash with Villarreal.

"There is always a moment of speculation. However, we move forward with patience and lots of energy.

"I don't think there has been more criticism than in other seasons.

"The responsibility I have is a lot. I assume it and share it with players, club, people who work in the dressing room.

"We all have responsibility - mine is important, I assume it and I look for solutions so that everything returns to the best situation, which is to win. When you win, everything looks much better."

Simeone acknowledged Atletico are, to some extent, in a season of transition, but it will not affect his daily approach.

He added: "The ones who think that the word 'transition' leads to sunbathing and waiting for the flowers to come out don't know me.

"I always imagine positive things, and within them, there are situations that can be improved.

"Our goal is to compete game after game. We will not change. Reality is what counts, day to day."

Having been dealt a blow by last week's defeat to Barca, Simeone has urged his players to focus on catching Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Sevilla - immediately above them in the table - rather than worrying about LaLiga's top two.

"We look at the one closest to us," he said. "We must always look at the one closest to us. It is the best way to approach those who are further away - first, go for those who are closest."

Lionel Messi scored a dramatic late winner as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium to return to the summit of LaLiga on Sunday.

Real Madrid had temporarily claimed top spot on Saturday after a 2-1 win at Alaves but Barca's victory put them ahead on goal difference.

Atletico had enjoyed the best of the chances in an engrossing contest but remain winless in 19 LaLiga games against the Catalans.

Ernesto Valverdes's side were indebted to goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen for two breath-taking saves in the first half.

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