Simeone bemoans inconsistency but says Atletico are improving

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Diego Simeone lamented Atletico Madrid's inconsistent first half of the LaLiga season, though the head coach believes his team are improving following Sunday's draw at Athletic Bilbao.

Atletico had Antoine Griezmann to thank as the France star produce a fine second-half strike to salvage a share of the spoils at San Mames.

The draw left Atletico fourth in the table after 19 matches, seven points adrift of second-placed Sevilla and eight behind leaders Real Madrid.

"We're seven points away from [Sevilla] after what has been an inconsistent first half of the season for us," Simeone said.

"They have an important advantage to qualify for the Champions League.

"I am pleased with this [draw] as we are improving."

Atletico made a promising start away from home after Koke's cross bounced into the far corner in the third minute.

Athletic responded through Inigo Lekue in the 42nd minute before Oscar de Marcos put the hosts ahead in the second half.

Griezmann, however, scored from 25 yards with 10 minutes remaining to extend Atletico's unbeaten run against Athletic to seven matches.

"It's been an exciting and thrilling match, as all the ones that we play here in Bilbao," Simeone added.

"We had a good start in the first 30 minutes. From there, Athletic got back into the game with the tie. The second half was similar.

"In a counterattack we put ourselves at a disadvantage and then Griezmann's great goal gave us the tie. We played a very good match."