Diego Simeone has again reflected on the past 12 months at Atletico Madrid and on what he takes most pride from having achieved with the club so far.
El Cholo has just reached exactly 12 months on the bench at the Vicente Calderon and has been speaking to the Press this week in reflection of that milestone, beginning with the Europa League and UEFA Super Cup finals that the team won during the year.
“I remember prior to the two finals and that I had no doubt that we would win. I was convinced because I saw the players, the atmosphere there, the energy…Atletico felt right,” he reflected to Europa Press today.
“We were very strong for the first final [of the Europa League], although it was true that we were also focused on the League so as to enter the Champions League qualification places. But, when we arrived the night before the final, I spoke one on one with the players and went to bed knowing that the team would win.
“With Chelsea [in the UEFA Super Cup Final] I had an even better feeling because Atletico were a Cup holder going into that and when presented with a final, Atletico are very difficult for any opponent and I felt that once again.”
Simeone was asked of his feelings a year ago, in taking on the Atletico job.
“When they contacted me, I began to meet with the staff and told them that I liked the challenge. I knew that it was difficult because I arrived as a football idol and that character was at risk.
“I am proud of all the players we have had and the whole squad that we have now.
“The players have met with commitment and a sense of stability and, above all, with something they wanted to convey and that we are today – being a team. I think that Atletico Madrid today is a team.
“I’m where I want to be, I have the luck to be in a place where I give myself and feel that it is as my own.
“I surrender completely to what I do and I believe that at some point the players feel this and feel that it is easier to work with.”
The Coach was asked what during 2012 had been his greatest achievement with the Rojiblancos.
“I stay with the group that we have formed because everything has been impossible without a group like we have, and as we have had. We have important players too and our success is the result of what the players have been doing.
“When I was here for just a month people asked my how it was possible to have already found a team. Honestly, I needed a week, two weeks, to feel the relationship I had was natural. It is obviously, though, something that is not easy.
“There was a back and forth between the group about what was felt. Thereafter, the hard part has been generating a group committed to thinking as a collective, having regard for all those around you.”