Diego Simeone believes the only way Atletico Madrid will improve as a team is to work harder after their 2-1 win over Eibar.
The champions were two goals up against last year’s Segunda winners, only to be pegged back towards the end of the match to set up a nervy finish in which Eibar had a goal disallowed.
Simeone had to watch the match from the stands as he served the first of his eight-game suspension and said after the final whistle that if Los Colchoneros intend to retain their title, they have to knuckle down.
“I expected to suffer. The start put us ahead,” Marca reports Cholo as recalling.
“We couldn’t manage the game. We played with more anxiety than we usually do.
“We have to grow and the way forward is to work.
“It’s a long tournament and we’re aware that we need to improve. It’s good to win.
“The characteristics are not the same. We’re making a huge effort. Beyond the need to play better, the results are consistent.
“We are the first to want to improve. We have 15 days but the guys are going off [on international duty]. That hasn’t happened before to Atleti.”
Simeone added that Eibar’s showing was impressive but he wants to focus on making his side better.
“We took the ball to hurt Eibar. They are well put together and will make it a war,” he continued.
“They made a good impression.
“We needed this victory. We have to fend off the numbers and focus on the job. We need to improve.”