Diego Simeone paid tribute to his Atletico Madrid players after Wednesday’s Champions League elimination of Barcelona as they “never stop believing”.
Atleti overturned a 2-1 deficit from the first leg to win 2-0 in the return match and reach the semi-finals for the second time in three seasons, while knocking out the competition holders in the process, and Simeone hailed his troops for staying loyal to “our values”.
“This team has brought together players who always work hard,” the Coach said after the game.
“I feel joy for them. We can win or lose, but we always believe in our values.
“The motto ‘never stop believing’ is engrained in the club. We never give up, and we were strong in all aspects of the game.
“To have seen the response of the fans [after the game] was very nice. I enjoyed it.
“We faced very good opponents, but we worked very well in the first half at Camp Nou and did the same again.
“We hadn’t beaten them in seven games. Someday we had to…
“Lucas [Hernandez’s] performance made me very happy. He’s worked very hard to stay in the team.
“It’s difficult enough for a 20-year-old, yet he played 180 minutes against Barcelona.
“The idea was to pull a goal back in the first half and fight for every ball.
“Being among Europe’s best four teams in the past three years has been an important step, but we hope there are more.”