Diego Simeone has admitted that he is ‘surprised’ by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s scathing critique of Atletico Madrid’s display at Real Madrid on Wednesday.
The Bayern Munich President claimed Los Colchoneros were the last team he wanted to face in the Champions League semi-finals, having denounced their style of play in the second leg of their last-eight tie at the Santiago Bernabeu, which finished 1-0 to the hosts.
“We’ve turned the page that was Wednesday’s game and are now focused on [Saturday’s] game,” the Coach remarked ahead of Atleti’s encounter with Elche in La Liga on Saturday.
“Playing games quickly is good for both my players and our objective, which is to fight where we are in the table.
“We’re in the most important part of the season, where you can achieve your objectives if you do well.
“[Toby Alderweireld’s] a great person a player, who did very well when he was here.
“We’re following him. He’s doing very well [at Southampton], but he’s still our player. We hope to start pre-season with him and then decide amongst ourselves what’s best for everyone.
“I didn’t ask fans in the street what they thought of our approach [to the tie].
“They were disappointed that we lost. If I had do it again I’d do it all the same, so I’m calm. I thought we were unable to impose ourselves [on the second leg], so our opponents deserved to win.
“It’s normal that the fans are disappointed. Above all, it shows how far we’ve come in recent years.
“We’re open to any criticism, as long as its justified with arguments. There’s no sense in looking at criticism without arguments.
“I’m very surprised by Rummenigge’s comments. He was a great player who, by his characteristics, would have fit our philosophy. His characteristics were very similar to those of our players.
“Nobody asked me, before Madrid, whether finishing third [in La Liga] was more important than reaching the [Champions League] semi-finals.
“Now we’re back to League matters and the objective of the club is to finish third. We’ve competed in Europe extraordinarily well.
“The bad result hurts but it taught us that we couldn’t relax against our rivals.
“[Real Madrid] needed 178 minutes to break us down. That speaks well of us, and I was pleased with our performance [in the tie].
“It showed the progress we make daily. I can make 10 changes and the team would still compete in the same way.”