Simeone: Winning most important

Diego Simeone was unconcerned that his side could only register a 1-0 result on Thursday night, insisting that the win mattered most.

A much-changed Atletico Madrid defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Europa League to guarantee the Spaniards’ place in the knockout stages of the competition they won last year.

“The most important thing was winning. Hapoel caught us off guard because instead of playing with three in midfielder, as they often do, they went with five,” revealed El Cholo at full-time.

“We did not have the necessary intensity in the first few metres to close out the game a little better. In the second half we had more possession, but with little end play to match.

“Will I continue rotating the squad in the knockout stages? We are back in the Last 32. We understood it was an opportunity to give some playing time to a lot of the guys.

“The situation is beneficial for all. To be important as a team we must continue to be important as a group.”

Atleti go from Europa action straight into preparations for Sunday’s clash at home to Sevilla.

“The demands on us continue to grow, but we want to keep going game by game with the humility to know what we have.

“The facts speak louder than words and on Sunday there is a very important game.”

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