Pep Guardiola reviews Atletico Madrid Champions League tie
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Diego Simeone fired post-match shots at Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola for comments made about Atletico Madrid’s playstyle, before storming out of his press conference. The two sides played out a fiery Champions League encounter on Wednesday which saw tempers flare before and after the final whistle.
Atletico’s tie with City was scrappy from the first minute of the first leg as Simeone’s side set up to frustrate their silkier opponents. Phil Foden bore the brunt of the brutality in Madrid as the bandaged youngster pulled together with his team-mates to see out a 0-0 draw.
Kevin De Bruyne’s first-leg strike made the difference and saw City advance to the Champions League semi-finals. Atletico ditched their low block for the majority of the second leg, but the Sky Blues stood firm to keep them at bay.
Guardiola commented on Simeone’s defensive set-up after the first leg which many in Spain interpreted as a dig. He said: “We sensed they would play 3-5-2, then they adjusted and went to a 5-5-0, something that in prehistoric times and today is very difficult to attack.”
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When Simeone was asked whether he felt disrespected by Guardiola’s comments after the return leg, he responded: “I don’t have to have that sort of opinion. I don’t think he will talk badly or talk well.
“Often, people who talk really well, and are really clever, they manage to praise you with contempt. But those of us who perhaps have a smaller vocabulary are not so stupid either.”
Simeone abruptly got out of his chair and walked out of the press conference when asked if he would give Real Madrid advice on how to topple City in the final four.
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The match in Madrid descended into chaos long before the final whistle as Felipe was sent off and Stefan Savic attempted to physically drag a seemingly injured Foden off the pitch. Jack Grealish then stormed in with some choice words for the Montenegrin centre-back, who pulled the winger’s hair in response.
Police then went charging down the tunnel at full-time where City’s Aymeric Laporte was struck by an object and Sime Vrsaljko was offered out by Scott Carson. With the feud at boiling point, Guardiola attempted to diffuse the matter by clearing up his take on Atletico during his own post-match press duties.
“Don’t be mistaken, I never criticised Atletico,” added the City boss. “They pushed us back, we forgot how to play. That’s to their credit. We’re celebrating going through but after that second half we could be out. We were in big, big trouble.
“They had chances to score, but they didn’t in the end. If we play in the semi-final like we did in the second half, we don’t have any chance.”
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