Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone – ‘We need intelligent footballers, everyone has good players’

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has praised the strength in depth of his side following their 3-1 win over Villarreal on Sunday night, with substitutes Marcos Llorente and Samuel Lino assisting and scoring their final two goals-

The Yellow Submarine played well in the opening stages of the match, and went 1-0 up through Gerard Moreno, only to be pegged back at half-time. As Villarreal sat deeper and deeper, Atletico eventually found a way through.

“We played against an opponent who is not going through their best moment but who has very good players,” Simeone explained to Marca.

“In the first half they found the goal, we attacked but without clear opportunities. We played in the their half against a team that defended itself well and did not let us reach the area. Then came the goal that gave us peace of mind to talk at half-time. We put more people out wide like Marcos, then the changes gave us freshness. That’s what it’s about, being able to count on the whole group when the team needs it in this type of match.”

Los Rojiblancos are now on a 15-match winning streak at the Metropolitano, which stretches to 17 including their Champions League victories over Feyenoord and

“I focus on consistency, which is the most important thing. There are teams that play very well, Girona are a pleasure to watch. Also Barcelona and Madrid as always. La Real doesn’t have the points it deserves but they play very well. It has been a very competitive season.”

Simeone, who recently extended his contract until 2027, also explained that beyond quality, he desired smart players.

“I think we have a team committed to what they do, they like to feel important in the games. In Las Palmas without playing a good game we could have drawn. I see in the group that they want more and we have to go for it. We focus on game by game. All the teams have good footballers, we need intelligent footballers and when you have them, you are closer.”

Atletico Madrid lie six points off leaders Girona, but do have a game in hand on the Catalans and crosstown rivals Real Madrid, who sit four points above them. However with Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata forming a frightening munitions department in the first third of the season, there is growing belief that they can challenge for the title this season. While defensively they have been some way off their best, few teams have been able to handle their frontline so far.