Simeone: Team is the constant

Diego Simeone says Atletico Madrid “can play well or poorly, but we’ll always have a squad prepared to compete” after Sunday’s 2-0 win at Celta Vigo.

Second-half strikes from Antoine Griezmann and substitute Yannick Carrasco confirmed Atleti’s status as winter champions of La Liga, despite Barcelona’s game in-hand, and the Coach marvelled at the manner in which his side wore the Galicians thin.

“We can still improve and need to keep growing,” he said after the game.

“We went from low to high in the game. That was our idea.

“We knew it was going to be a game in which some legs would buckle due to the state of the pitch, and we played the way we wanted.

“We suffered for the first 20 minutes but then started playing better.

“And then in the second half, we understood how to handle the game without the ball.

“We’re doing well and this win gives us the impetus to prepare for the cup game on Thursday against Rayo.

“The lads who joined in the summer are growing and they give us options and solutions in attack.

“We can play well or poorly, but we’ll always have a squad prepared to compete at any time.

“Since I arrived at the club, it was clear the priority was the squad’s collective functionality and that the sacrifices our forwards made was huge.

“[Their sacrifices] don’t take anything away from their scoring ability.

“[Radamel] Falcao, [David] Villa and [Mario] Mandzukic scored a lot of goals, and [Antoine] Griezmann is following in that line.

“It wasn’t easy for [Augusto Fernandez] to play at a stadium he loves.

“I had the feeling that with [Yannick] Carrasco, we could play with greater speed and offer better support to our forwards with three in the middle, as opposed to four.”

Tags Diego Simeone