MX23RW : Wednesday, September 19 07:39:43

Diego Simeone hails defiant Atletico Madrid display

Simeone hails defiant Atletico display
© SilverHub
Diego Simeone talks up the performance of his Atletico Madrid side to claim a 1-1 draw against Arsenal, but admits that it is still all to play for in the second leg.

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has praised his players for snatching a 1-1 draw against Arsenal despite playing with 10 men for 80 minutes of the contest.

Atleti lost full-back Sime Vrsaljko to a couple of early yellow cards and could only hold their opponents off for an hour before Alexandre Lacazette found a way through.

Simeone, sent to the stands three minutes after Vrsaljko's dismissal, was delighted with the defiant display produced by his side, though, as they dug deep and netted late on at the Emirates Stadium through Antoine Griezmann.

Speaking to reporters after the first leg of the Europa League semi-final tie, the 47-year-old told reporters: "Surviving in the Europa League would be the best way to describe [courage]. I remember a game in Barcelona when Filipe [Luis] was sent off after 13 minutes, or another Champions League game when [Fernando] Torres was sent off. The team has done fantastic work for a number of years.

"In a stadium like this, the attacking football Arsenal played, the team had to keep going every minute. That's the most beautiful thing about football. It's really hard to play away at Arsenal - an extraordinary stadium, a spectacular coach in the opposite dugout - with 10 men. These Atletico players, the way they played and put up with the pressure was tremendous.

"The fans brought a positive energy to accompany our passion. You guys have no idea how difficult it is to defend. Football is about playing and playing is the fun part, but you've got to have balls to defend with 10 men for 80 minutes.

"If you play normally you have more possibility [to score], but defending like that shows real character - it's a message for those who come along with us. It's been a difficult year for us. A lot of change, with a fantastic new stadium, our new home. We've got a 50% chance of going through."

Atletico have been victorious in seven of their nine two-legged knockout contests against English opponents.

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Arsene Wenger during the Premier League match between Arsenal and West Ham United on April 22, 2018
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona44001431112
2Real Madrid4310113810
3Celta Vigo42117527
4Espanyol42115327
5Getafe42114227
6GironaGirona421156-17
7AlavesAlaves421134-17
8Athletic Bilbao31205415
9Atletico MadridAtletico412134-15
10Real Betis412113-25
11Levante41126514
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13Real Sociedad411267-14
14Villarreal411223-14
15EibarEibar411246-24
16Huesca4112612-64
17Valencia403135-23
18Rayo Vallecano310225-33
19Real Valladolid402202-22
20Leganes401349-51

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