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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE | ATLÉTICO 1-0 BARÇA (2-1)

Simeone: "I love these players"

Diego Simeone spoke after his side qualified for the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, 1-0.

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Atlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone. | PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU (AFP)

Atlético coach Diego Simeone spoke proudly after his side overcame Barcelona at the Calderón to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, 1-0 on the night, 2-1 on aggregate.

Feeling in the dressing room: “Happy because we’ve knocked out a great rival. Barça were in charge for long periods. We need to relax because this doesn’t stop here. We need to get our strength back because we’ve got a tough game on Sunday.”

Tactical analysis: “We planned two games. In the two areas. Pressure to be applied pretty close to their area and another zone, near ours. If the first zone of pressure failed then we needed to regroup and cover Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets. The first two minutes, in terms of intention, attitude and football were very good. The area of [Dani] Alves, who crosses quickly, made things difficult later because Barcelona got better. We needed to control the time in the second half and hope for a second goal.”

His footballers: “The players just keep going. I admire them. More than just loving them, I love them for the effort they put in. The style is that of the team, not mine. And they never betray it. Great battles are won by those who approach them better. Our players never betrayed our plan, because there is a feeling here and everyone feels it.”

Adrián: “He was sharp, close to scoring, he bothered them and linked up well with David [Villa] and Koke. More than going through I’m happy to get Adrián back. There’s a long way to go. Adrián is a different kind of player who gives us other options.”

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