Wednesday, May 25

Diego Simeone happy with performance but says Man Utd have advantage

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone believes Manchester United now hold the advantage as they failed to win the Champions League first leg fixture at home.

Atleti came into the match  having lost eight of their last 15 matches in all competitions. A fine start saw Joao Felix head home Renan Lodi’s cross at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano. Manchester United barely threatened but an 80th minute finish from substitute Anthony Elanga gave Ralf Rangnick’s team a valuable 1-1 first leg draw. The result makes it seven home Champions League matches without victory for Colchoneros.

Simeone said in his post-match interview, carried by Marca: “They took advantage of the only mistake in a very good match.

“Reinildo wanted to anticipate, although holding tight would have been a better option. The forwards’ job wasn’t easy but I’m left with a lot of good things. I have no doubt that this is the way.

“Almost everything we did in the game was very good. It appears that they have the advantage, but nothing changes. Our goal was a very good action. A great cross from Lodi and a great finish from Joao.

“I’m leaving this game satisfied. We didn’t do enough to win but the tie is open.”

The Argentine coach also explained his decision to take off goal-scorer Joao Felix. After that point, Atleti carried very little threat aside from Antoine Griezmann striking the crossbar.

“I saw him tired, that he couldn’t run backwards,” said Simeone. “Joao had an extraordinary game. Joao’s forcefulness allowed us to get ahead.

“His work and that of Correa was what the match called for. We brought in Griezmann and Lemar to continue fueling the match.”

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Atletico defender: We Should Have Won

Atleti central defender Jose Maria Gimenez felt his side did enough to beat Manchester United on Wednesday evening. Having limited the Red Devils to very few opportunities, a transition led to Bruno Fernandes assisting Anthony Elanga’s equaliser.

Speaking to Movistar, Gimenez said: “The truth is that it’s a bit bothering.

“We didn’t deserve to draw, we did a lot to win, drove all facets of the game, defended well, built well in attack, created chances, hit the post twice.

“If you are not effective…They are very good, when they caught us open, in a loss of possession. A casual goal because we totally deserved the win.”

The second leg takes place in three weeks’ time at Old Trafford. Los Rojiblancos will hope to have captain, Koke back in the central midfield for that match. Versatile wide player, Yannick Carrasco will miss the return leg due to suspension.

READ MORE: Man Utd star’s best position questioned by Paul Scholes – ‘he will get found out’


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