Diego Simeone has hailed his Atletico Madrid team as ‘heroes’ following their 1-1 Europa League semi-final first leg draw at Arsenal.
Sime Vrsaljko was sent-off for two yellow cards in the ninth minute before Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring on the hour mark, with Antoine Griezmann rescuing a draw.
“To be honest, it was 90 minutes in which my body is filled with really strong emotions,” Simeone told reporters, as cited by ESPN FC.
“I have to say that these players, they are basically heroes. They stood firm like they did after such a long season, when our squad is so short, they stood firm for 80 minutes.
“The stadium on Thursday really needs to be exploding with positive energy in order to reflect that passion. When you defend and defend and defend… You guys have no idea how difficult it is to defend.
“Football is about playing, and playing is the fun part, but defending, you really need to have balls to do that.”