Friday. 24.05.2024

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has hit back at critics of his defensive style as he attempts to engineer a Champions League comeback against Manchester City.

Simeone has found himself in the firing line over his side’s performance in their 1-0 defeat in the first leg of their quarter-final against the Premier League leaders at the Etihad Stadium last week.

Atletico showed little attacking intent and spent most of the game sitting back in the hope of frustrating Pep Guardiola’s men.

Former Italy and Atletico manager Arrigo Sacchi and Dutch great Marco Van Basten have been among the high-profile critics of Simeone’s style and the Argentinian himself is unimpressed.

“I’ve been a coach since 2005-06 and I’ve never talked down to a colleague of mine or talked badly,” said Simeone at a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s second leg against City at the Wanda Metropolitano.

“When you don’t show appreciation for a colleague, I don’t really share that, but there are opinions of every journalist, every ex-player and people who haven’t played the game for a while, and they want to say a different thing.

'Talk is cheap'

“Talk is cheap, talk is free and everybody can talk. We all have our opinions but I don’t talk badly of colleagues. I always respect my fellow coaches.”

Simeone’s damage limitation exercise in Manchester was successful for 70 minutes until being undone by Kevin De Bruyne for the only goal.

They will need to be more adventurous this time – they did not muster a single shot on goal at the Etihad – but Simeone does not intend to veer much from a formula that has proved successful in the past.

The Spanish champions will again look to take the sting out of the game and then hope to pounce through the likes of Joao Felix or Antoine Griezmann. Luis Suarez, who did not feature last week, is another option.

Yannick Carrasco could also bolster the midfield after completing his suspension.

Simeone hits back at critics with Atletico's defensive style