Diego Simeone praised his changed Atletico Madrid team for their ‘non-negotiable’ efforts against Zenit St Petersburg.
Los Colchoneros made four changes to the team that started the weekend match against Getafe, having left a number of first team names at home for this midweek Champions League fixture, with top spot in Group G already assured.
Even so, a 1-1 result ensued, with Adrian Lopez’s opener cancelled out by Toby Alderweireld’s own goal, and the Coach had no complaints.
“We had chances to win in the second half, but with humility and hard work we achieved a good result against a great team,” mused Simeone post-match.
“It brought us a lot of pleasure to see those who don't play all that much performing the way they did. The team performed really well and that's a good sign for the future.
“The anticipated changes to the team? We are respectful and obviously interpret criticism in the best way. We have been working together for two years and I am very pleased to see the squad grow.
“I wouldn't pick out individuals – I would highlight the entire team. Insua was huge, against a great player like Hulk, as was Guilavogui, who continues to grow.
“Adrian is closer to the player that we need, he is on the rise, Cebolla travelled with us after becoming a father and is always on the front foot, Gabi, Koke, Miranda, they contributed as they always do.
“I’m happy with them. Since I arrived, this effort has been non-negotiable. It is one thing to play a friendly in Argentina and another to play in the Champions League.”