Atletico Madrid leader disagrees with teammate over evaluation of team

Atletico Madrid defender Jose Maria Gimenez has contradicted teammate Rodrigo de Paul in his evaluation of their campaign. The Argentine midfielder had described the season as ‘good’ provided they secure Champions League qualification, which looks probable, but Gimenez was much more critical.

On a personal level, Gimenez admitted that injuries had again made it a tough year for him to ESPN Uruguay.

“The truth is that it has been a tough season from a personal point of view, with some ups and downs that have obviously thrown me off, like the fracture at the beginning of the season that led to another injury later and a subsequent relapse. It was a complex season, but I’m always trying to give my best when it’s time and trying to get well quickly to help the team.”

On a collective level, he was not exactly on board with de Paul’s assessment.

“At the club level it has been a strange season. The only thing that can save it is that we qualify for the Champions League, which is the primary objective, and there you could say that it is a season where the objectives were achieved.”

The big disappointment for Atletico, beyond failing to challenge for La Liga, was their Champions League exit to Borussia Dortmund, where they held an advantage going into the second leg.

“The truth is that it was a tough game, obviously we were hoping to get through because I think we had the team to be able to do it. The first leg, which was at home, if it ended 3 or 4 to nil, then nobody would have batted an eyelid, it was normal because of how the game had been, but also, given how it happened, if it ended 2-2,  that was fair.”

“There (in the return leg) we started losing 2-0. We managed to level it, which is the most difficult thing, and then we didn’t know how to manage the game, we didn’t control our emotions and we suffered a defeat that hurt us a lot and that makes the Champions League a failure for us.”

Nevertheless, he still had words of praise for manager Diego Simeone, who will go into his 14th year at the club next season.

“I think the goal of Cholo is to take each season as if it were the first, whether when it comes to transmitting messages or working. He is not a coach who bores us when it comes to working, on the contrary, he always demands things from you, every day of the year, and that is admirable because many times as a football player you drop your head and cannot find motivation for the day to day to day.”

Tags Atletico Madrid Diego Simeone Jose Maria Gimenez Rodrigo De Paul
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