Gabi: Atleti must improve to win the derby

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Atletico Madrid midfielder Gabi has acknowledged they will have to improve to beat arch-rivals Real Madrid in the derby after the international break.

The Vicente Calderon side have lost two of their last three LaLiga fixtures and have dropped to fourth place in the table, six points adrift of leaders Madrid.

Gabi recognises the importance of keeping pace with Zinedine Zidane's men and urged Atleti to rediscover the defensive strength that has been so key to their success under Diego Simeone.

"It is going to be a vital game for us. It is crucial because we cannot let Real Madrid get too far ahead of us in the table," Gabi was quoted as saying by AS.

"We want to be neck and neck with them, but we have to improve if we are to win the derby.

"We have to go back to being a team which is solid at the back and we all have to do our job to make the team secure. 

"It is a difficult moment for us, the team is used to winning, but we are not playing well and now we have gone two games on the trot losing away from home. Defeats are always negative and more so when they mean you drop places in the table. 

"We want to be the best team and for that to happen we have to improve."