Atletico Madrid president backs Simeone after Champions League exit

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has defended the club’s boss Diego Simeone following the Champions League quarter-final defeat to RB Leipzig.

The Argentine was criticised for his line-up, substitutions and style of play during the surprise 2-1 loss to the Bundesliga outfit, who were considered to be the underdogs in the tie.

Simeone has twice guided the club to the final of the Champions League, in 2014 and 2016, but lost both showpiece clashes to their city rivals Real Madrid.

Atleti were without midfielder Thomas Partey for the clash while there was criticism over the decisions not to select Joao Felix – who came off the bench as a substitute to win and convert a penalty – while Diego Costa was surprisingly selected ahead of Alvaro Morata.

“Lots of people questioned last night. The one who decides the team line-ups is him. Whoever discusses the line-up should buy a team, make the team and get on with it,” Cerezo bullishly said, in quotes carried by Marca.

“People are annoyed. That is wrong because the truth is that we didn’t expect that result. Football is like that, these things happen and that’s what we must accept.

“I think we have had a very good season. We have qualified for the Champions League, we have finished among the top three and we have reached the quarter-finals, which is not bad.”

RB Leipzig – who had never qualified for the Champions League knockout stages before this season – will now meet Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-final.

Tags Diego Simeone Enrique Cerezo