Diego Simeone explained Atletico Madrid’s strengths and their difficulties in eliminating Milan from the Champions League.
The last time Atleti reached the quarter-finals was in 1997, when current Coach Simeone was still playing for them.
“We are happy with the work the lads did over the last two and a half years. We play as a team and I think that is our greatest strength, knowing our limitations and our strong points,” the former Catania Coach told Sky Sport Italia after a 4-1 victory.
Ricky Kaka had equalised on the night, sparking a period of intensive Rossoneri pressure.
“I agree, before their goal we had started to relax, but afterwards we spent around 10 minutes without pressing, without getting the ball back and without calm. That was what we lacked at that time, the calm to cover the spaces and hold the field properly.
“I spoke to the team at half-time and after that I think everyone regained their calm.
“We suffered a little and Milan grew, but afer the second goal we started pressing higher up the field and that caused Milan more problems.
“We started strong and then had to change. I knew that if we kept the ball on the right then we could do well. It changed with Robinho, who wasn’t coming back.
“It was dangerous for Milan to go on the counter-attack, so we had to hold on to the ball and beware of losing possession.
“In the first leg Milan played well and we had left them too many spaces to play in, which is what they enjoy.”
Simeone noted fitness training was also an important element of their preparation.
“Yes, certainly. First of all you need someone with a good foot, but we do put the right importance on to the physical and tactical aspects, as it all helps to hurt the opponents.”