I didn’t throw ball, hints Simeone

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone accepted his dismissal in Saturday’s 1-0 win against Malaga but hinted he did not throw the ball.

Simeone appeared to throw a second ball onto the pitch in a bid to stop Malaga from counterattacking, which prompted referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz to send the Coach to the stands, but he claimed it was more a case of taking one for the team as “it was a boy beside me”.

“The images will show [what happened]. It’ll become clear,” he said after the game.

“It’s clear that the referee made ​​the right decision as per the regulations.

“He did what he had to do. There’s little more that can be said.

“It was a boy beside me [who threw the ball], but that doesn’t mean anything.

“We didn’t start well. We struggled for the first 25 minutes as we played too individualistically and that led us to be hasty and not having the clearest path to attack.

“After that, we improved and Correa revolutionised the team in the second half.

“Both of those factors took us to a very important win, and it gives us momentum to stay in this race until the end.

“[Correa] marked a very important step in changing the game.

“He can play in several positions and revolutionised the team by creating numerical superiority with his movement.

“He still needs to improve, but the only way he can is by performing when he gets minutes, and he took advantage [on Saturday].

“[Augusto Fernandez] did well, as did the whole team. The second half was much more balanced, better managed and we forced our opponents to defend.

“[On Atleti’s approach to the final three games], we’ll do so with the same approach as the start of the season: going game by game at our strongest and not looking beyond [each game].

“In these three games, we’ll experience important moments.

“Watching the game from the stands gives you a different perspective. It was there where I thought about bringing on Correa, but hopefully I’m not punished for many games.

“[On Atleti’s perceived preference to win by a single goal], no, not really. I feel safer when we score the second goal.

“One-nil never gives you a peace of mind. We can play [for 1-0s], we’ve shown it, but our objective is to extend the result so we can be more comfortable.”

Tags Diego Simeone