Diego Simeone has hit out at criticism of Atletico Madrid‘s playing style ahead of their Champions League quarterfinal second leg with Manchester City, saying he’s “never disrespected” a fellow manager by condemning the way their team plays.
Atletico’s defensive 5-5-0 formation saw them fail to register a single shot on goal during their 1-0 first leg defeat at the Etihad on April 5, with City manager Pep Guardiola saying “in prehistory, now, and in 100,000 years’ time, attacking a 5-5-0 is very difficult.”
“I always put myself in the place of the coaches I compete against,” Simeone said in a news conference on Tuesday, when asked about widespread criticism of Atletico’s first leg approach.
“There are different ways of expressing yourself. Opinions from journalists, ex-players, people who haven’t played for a long time and want to say something different… Words are free.
“Everyone can have an opinion. Everybody has their own way of doing things and I choose mine, which is to always, always, always respect my colleagues.”
Atletico went into the first leg against City in their best form of the season, on an eight-game unbeaten run — but have now lost their last two matches, following the defeat in Manchester with a 1-0 loss to Real Mallorca in LaLiga on Saturday.
“We won’t stray far from what we do,” Simeone said when asked about his tactics for Wednesday’s second leg.
“Let’s hope we can combine better, have quicker transitions, take advantage of counter-attacks with more precision, and that our experienced players can have a fantastic night… In one game, anything can happen.”
“People outside can say what they want, but we have a plan and we’ll try to execute it at the Wanda,” he said.
“Everyone has his philosophy of play. I really like how Manchester City play, and I love how Atletico Madrid play, with passion and enthusiasm and grit. I love the two styles.”