Simeone upbeat despite Atletico's poor form

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Diego Simeone believes Atletico Madrid are nearing the end of a costly stretch which saw them fail to win for the sixth time in seven competitive matches on Saturday.

Carlos Bacca cancelled out Angel Correa's opener to give Villarreal a 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano as the hosts missed out on adding to their solitary win in October.

Atleti, who sit four points shy of the top two, were left to rue Kevin Gameiro's inability to turn a promising close-range chance into a two-goal advantage in the second half.

The result compounded the Rojiblancos' frustration from their midweek draw with third-tier Elche in the Copa del Rey, but Simeone believes his team will soon return to their clinical best.

"If we keep on this path things will improve for sure. I always prefer to see the positive side," Simeone said at his post-match news conference.

"This was the best of our recent games, for performance and intensity. At 1-0 we had chances to kill off game, like for Gameiro."

In addition to earning a point, 31-year-old Bacca's late header extended Javier Calleja's unbeaten start as Villarreal manager to four LaLiga matches.

The 39-year-old former midfielder has collected 10 league points from a possible 12 since replacing the sacked Fran Escriba in September.

"It was a fair result. We had a chance [to go ahead through Cedric] Bakambu at 0-0," Calleja said of his side's performance.

"After [the first] goal, when Atletico dropped back, we had our best spell."