Diego Simeone revealed Atletico Madrid didn’t practice penalties before dispatching PSV Eindhoven in a Champions League shootout.
Atletico converted all eight of their spot kicks, Juanfran netting the decider, while PSV only failed with their eighth, Luciano Narsingh hitting the crossbar.
“We don’t practice penalties. It’s not the same without the tension of a game. It’s not the same,” Simeone insisted after the match, AS reports.
“It’s an act of personality, leadership, decision-making. [Mono Burgos] picked the order [a year ago] against Bayer Leverkusen and did the same here.
“All congratulations to him because it isn’t easy to choose.”
Simeone went on to explain why he changed the team’s system from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 late in the game, and weighed the contribution of substitute Fernando Torres.
“It was a tough, classic European Cup game. We expected there’d be space behind the centre-backs. We imagined they’d play 5-3-2 and so they did,” he noted.
“In the second half, when I thought it appropriate, Fernando came on. We tried with three attackers but when I saw the game wasn’t there to win, we brought on Matias Kranevitter, to have more order.
“There was tension, like last year. That always gives you the feeling of great anxiety. We didn’t create the chances we expected. You have to give credit to the opponent.
“Eight defenders meant we could only play through Antoine Griezmann in the first half. Games are as proposed, you change as you play, but always with the attitude of wanting to win.
“I appreciate with great joy the celebration of Juanfran’s penalty. There was a huge effort by a lot of people. All the coaching staff, physicians, those who support every day.
“It’s a joy to be back in the quarters. We’ll continue competing, looking for new dreams.
“It’s clear that if we’d have lost I would have been responsible. I decided to move to 4-3-3 to win and when I saw there was no way in, that they were very tight and good defensively, I reorganised the team in the middle.
“From that security, we went forward. But always taking care of our defensive security.
“We struggled, but that’s normal. It’s not easy to play in these situations, against a great rival, who changed the way they play. They always go attacking 4-3-3.
“It was a chess match, so I put in Kranevitter to make sure of what I wanted.”
Simeone closed his Press conference with a word on PSV’s performance over the two legs, and the support the team received at Vicente Calderon.
“They’ve left a great impression, they’re a very competitive team. They’ve played two different systems, here and there,” he added.
“I would add the joy of [Atletico] having finished the match with so many youngsters, as we did. And a huge congratulations to the stadium. The show in the stands was tremendous.
“We won’t stop believing, that’s for sure.”