Atletico boss Simeone calls for respect ahead of Champions League clash with Man City

Diego Simeone

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has refused to respond to the criticism levelled at his side since last week’s Champions League quarterfinal first leg defeat to Manchester City. 

Simeone’s side failed to register a single shot on goal as they lost 1-0 to City at the Etihad Stadium in a defensive performance described by his counterpart Pep Guardiola as prehistoric. 

However, Simeone did not take the bait ahead of Wednesday’s second leg at the Wanda Metropolitano, instead referencing an old phrase his dad used to say and calling for “respect.” 

“Since I started coaching in 2005, if I’m not mistaken, I have never criticised a colleague of mine — never,” Simeone said in a news conference on Tuesday. 

“When someone does not appreciate a colleague, I don’t share that. Others’ opinions: press, ex-players, people who haven’t been in the game a long time have opinions and talk…  

“I’ll say what my dad always said: ‘The mouth kills the fish’ (por la boca muere el pez). Words are free and we can all express an opinion, [but] there are ways of acting among colleagues and I have one: respect others always, always, always.”

The defeat to City ended a run of six wins in a row for Atletico and was followed by another loss at the weekend as they went down 1-0 to relegation-threatened Mallorca. 

Despite the debate Atletico’s style has generated, Simeone says his team’s approach will not change much against City, although he hopes they can be more effective in attack. 

“I am not going to get far away from what we believe in,” the Argentine added. “I believe there are different ways of playing to get what you want, [but] hopefully we can combine better, have better, faster transitions, be more precise with our counterattacks [and] our most significant players can have a fantastic night. 

“We will try to take the game to where we think we can hurt them. From there it will be about moments. Anything can happen.”