Diego Simeone admitted he had ordered his team to defend in the second half of the Copa del Rey second leg quarter-final clash with Barcelona.
The Argentine saw his Atletico Madrid side go in at the break trailing 3-2 on the night and 4-2 on aggregate at the Vicente Calderon, while captain Gabi was dismissed
“We’ve done well in the Cup this season and knocking Hospitalet and Real Madrid out was important,” he told reporters post-match.
“Against Barcelona we competed well but after the break the team played without taking risks at the back and without any ambition to score a goal. That was my decision.
“I’m the Coach and I decide what’s best for the future of this club and we did what was the most appropriate thing. For me the game was over in the first half.
“I feel proud of my players. The first 45 minutes were extraordinary and we played with great enthusiasm and a lot of intensity, although it was difficult as the pitch was bad.
“Barcelona are also much more intense in their play now and the arrival of Luis Suarez has strengthened their squad.
“Their goalkeepers give them security and that has allowed them to put together a team that is one of the best,” conceded Simeone.