Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said on Tuesday that the Spanish club will not change its way of playing despite heavy criticism, when they host Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-final second leg this week.
After losing the first leg 1-0 last week with an excessive defensive scheme that resulted in no attempts on goal, Atletico received a lot of criticism, including from former coach Arrigo Sacchi, who said the team offers “prehistoric football, from a period of the sixties”.
“Gossip does not help,” Simeone said during a press conference when asked about Sacchi’s comments.
He added: I have been coaching since 2005-2006 and have always respected my colleagues. But sometimes former players and coaches try to draw attention to this. I’d rather ignore them.
Simeone said his team, which reached the Champions League final in 2014 and 2016, had personality and would maintain its identity, even though they only had to win on Wednesday to qualify for the semi-finals.
The Argentine coach added, “We are facing an opponent who is doing very well and we hope to overcome him.” Obviously hope alone is not enough, but we will try to make them suffer during the match. Actions, not words, will determine our path in the tournament.
Atletico captain Koke echoed his coach’s comments and insisted that the team enjoy their style of play based on strength and enthusiasm.
“We’ve been playing like this for a decade and we’re enjoying it,” the midfielder said. We have a plan and we will always stick to it. We know how City plays, you can’t give them space. Let people say what they like. We play the way we like and we will continue our philosophy despite what the critics say.
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