- Champions League Atlético accepts Feyenoord's favours and is already in the round of 16
Who would have thought Simeone a year ago, not only that he would eat the nougat with Atletico Madrid, with the team eliminated from Europe and at a great distance from the lead in LaLiga, but that he would turn the team, once again, into a perfectly oiled machine. "I'm very happy for the players," he explained at the end of the match against Feyenoord. "We had very good individual performances and also as a collective," he added.
Against the Dutch, he also played his 100th game in the Champions League as a red and white coach. He thus becomes the third manager with the most appearances in Europe's top competition after Alex Ferguson with Manchester United (190) and Arsene Wenger with Arsenal (177). The fourth would be Pep Guardiola, 81 games in charge of Manchester City. Simeone's record is: 48 wins, 27 draws and 25 defeats.
"It's important to finish as high as possible. We hadn't had the peace of mind of being first or second for years," Simeone said of a new qualification for the round of 11. With this is eight participations in which the team advances from the group stage of the <> with Simeone on the bench. Of these, three times they have reached the quarter-finals, once to the semi-finals and then there are the two finals lost to Real Madrid.
This year, Atletico Madrid remain unbeaten in this group stage with three wins and two draws. Very different from last season where what added up to three, were the defeats, while they barely managed one win and the same draws. With the win over Feyenoord, Atletico break their streak of one year and eight months without a win away from home in Europe.
The game's MVP, academy graduate Rodrigo Riquelme, absent for the 2022/23 season, said that the dressing room "didn't have any backpack" after last year's failure. Riquelme valued the victory as what they had come to do and assured that it had been a "nice match to watch".
A match in which there have been four goals, three of them for the red and whites. With these three, Atlético takes their tally to 15 and ties with Manchester City as the highest scoring team in this group stage. Uruguayan defender Giménez smiled when asked about the chances of the match and assured that they had taken advantage of them when other years "it did not happen".
With their homework done, 11 points compared to Lazio's 10, the team will play for first place in the group on December 13 against the Italians at the Metropolitano. Riquelme sees the dressing room as very confident to "give battle in the Champions League and LaLiga".
Barça, who also beat Porto yesterday, will be the next touchstone for Simeone's side. The teams arrive at very different times of play. The match will be on Sunday in Montjuic. For the time being, the Atletico want to enjoy their victory and leave all thoughts towards the Blaugrana for Wednesday.
- Atletico Madrid