Diego Simeone hailed Atletico Madrid’s ethos of “insisting, insisting and continuing to insist” after they booked another Champions League semi-final.
Atleti ground out a 2-1 aggregate victory over Leicester City on Tuesday to reach the last four for the third time in four years, and Simeone was delighted with the “competitive” edge that his side showed at the King Power Stadium.
“Third semi-final in four years? I feel emotion, pride and enthusiasm after a very hard match against a team that I’m happy to see compete and who didn’t give up, and that makes you forget the situation of being in another semi-final,” the Coach said after the game.
“On my first day back here, my only dream was to build a competitive Atletico and one that would frustrate teams on all the fronts they competed in, and I believe we’re competing.
“Atleti a great team? The great teams are Bayern, Barcelona and Real Madrid, especially in economic terms. We’re competitive in a sporting sense.
“Shakespeare’s changes? At the start of the second half, we were able to kill off the match with Griezmann and Carrasco, but after our goal they attacked a lot more.
“I pushed our defence back, and when we did that, we handled their threat better.
“I was especially happy with how we reinvented ourselves and kept competing to compete at times when we needed to commit.
“Gimenez? He was one of the best players on the pitch. The team did what the tie asked of them.
“As a Coach, it’s difficult to continue praising all the team’s efforts because they’ve been magnificent.
“Leaving if I win the Champions League? We’re thinking about Espanyol.
“It was a night of total football as we had expected, with a wonderful atmosphere, a team that fought to the end and exciting possibilities for both. These are the nights that fans live for.
“We have only one way: to insist, to insist, to insist and to continue insisting.
“Gimenez? He’s a centre-back and he’ll continue to be, but I was very happy with his performance because we’d talked about it and it worked.
“We suffered from the absences of Augusto [Fernandez] and Saul [in the middle], and Giménez showed his special ability to work.
“When players try hard and want it, things go well, and he was up for it today.”