Atletico looking to get title bid back on track as Real circle

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FILE PHOTO: La Liga Santander - Levante v Atletico Madrid

MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid hope to get back to winning ways when they host Levante on Saturday after seeing their lead at the top of La Liga slip.

Atletico have six points more than second-placed Real Madrid and have played a game less than their city rivals. But unconvincing performances and two draws in their last three matches have left the door ajar for Real in the title race.

Diego Simeone's side drew 1-1 at Levante on Wednesday in a match that been postponed earlier in the season.

"I don't think (this result) means we're more nervous than you would usually be," Simeone said.

For the first time in his decade-long tenure, the club have conceded in six successive games and he will be looking to shore up the defence.

"We need to improve defensively and we'll try and do this game upon game," Simeone said. "It's difficult to explain why we've been shipping so many goals and other sides are punishing us at the start of games."

Atletico are likely to be without Thomas Lemar, Hector Herrera and Moussa Dembele as the trio continue to isolate following positive COVID-19 tests, and Kieran Trippier is suspended.

Later on Saturday, Real play lowly Valladolid as they bid to keep the pressure on Atletico.

Coach Zinedine Zidane could be without up to eight first team players as injuries take their toll, including captain Sergio Ramos and forward Eden Hazard.

Third-placed Barcelona, who are nine points off top spot, will be looking to bounce back from Tuesday's 4-1 defeat against Paris Saint German in the Champions League when Cadiz visit on Sunday.

(Reporting by Joseph Walker, Editing by Timothy Heritage)