Atletico Madrid are looking as good as they have done all season, and it has Diego Simeone in a good mood. After Alvaro Morata’s stoppage time winner over Girona, Atletico are now three points clear of Real Sociedad in third, having December in fifth place.
It is also further evidence of their defensive improvement. In those 11 games since the World Cup, Atleti have conceded just five times and never more than once.
Simeone was asked after the match what he thought of winning 1-0, now that it has become so valued within Spanish football.
“Well, lately I see that winning 1-0 is valued very much by other teams, by other strategists,” Simeone grinned.
“And that makes me content no? Because winning 1-0 is not easy. It would seem that it is easy to defend. If you have to have a lot of concentration in order to defend yourself, many of these teams have improved enormously defensively.”
Diego Pablo Simeone, sobre ganar 1-0:
💬 “Últimamente veo que se valora mucho ese 1-0 para otros equipos y eso me pone contento, ¿no?”. pic.twitter.com/ItqZ8U9CHt
— Relevo (@relevo) March 13, 2023
“Obviously the majority of us would like to be more effective, to have a greater margin in the results, but the concentration it requires of you when you are winning 1-0 is very high, it’s higher than when you are winning 2-0 or 3-0, and this has been repeated many times. I am happy that many of those that I hear, value the 1-0,” his smile returning.
Previously Simeone and Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez have clashed over styles of play, with the latter claiming Barcelona are held to a different standard, and that he does not share Simeone’s vision of football.
However in recent weeks, Barcelona have been winning narrowly on the back of their stingy defence. At the weekend they secured their ninth 1-0 victory of the La Liga season, and in recent weeks Xavi told the press that although it was not the style he sought, he did value their ability to defend and compete.