Simeone: Old Atleti returned

Diego Simeone felt Atletico Madrid “were closer to the team we’ve always been” in the second half of Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat to Barcelona.

Atleti face a battle to reach the Copa del Rey final after conceding two away goals against Barca, although Los Colchoneros’ second-half performance saw them pull one back on the scoreboard and possibly more, had Simeone’s side taken their chances.

“They started better, they hurt us in behind our central midfielders and from there the first goal was born,” the Coach said after the game.

“After that, there was a spectacular goal from Messi and left us with a different first half [to the one we had in mind].

“In the second half, we were closer to the team we’ve always been. We were left with the feeling of showing our faces, of having been able to draw the game, of getting back up in a moment of much difficulty, being 2-0 down.

“What I said at half-time? Things in the dressing room stay there, but I’m happy with the account we gave of ourselves in the second half.

“I was happy with our attitude, our fight in one-on-ones, our ideas in how to hurt our opponents. We want it to continue and that we show it on Saturday.

“Barca still favourites? I said it when the Copa went in our favour and I’ll say it again with it going against us; that the Copa is unique.

“When it seems far away, [a comeback] is near. It can go from 0-2 to 2-2 and this doesn’t happen in the League. You don’t see these kinds of matches [in the League].

“Torres decisive? So was the attitude of everyone, Fernando, Gaitan, Gameiro. They each gave an extra boost to the team. The overall change in the team was clearly seen.

“Tie still open? We’ll play for our chances, knowing Barcelona will also understand that the tie isn’t over. There’s a game to be played and there’s sure to be a contest.

“Individual talent won the game? It wasn’t only won by individual talent, but the more clinical you are, the closer you get.

“We had chances and couldn’t take them, but the closest thing to winning is when you have chances in front of [your opponents’ goal], and we had them.”

Tags Diego Simeone