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ATLÉTICO DE MADRID

"I never said I was leaving; I said I needed time to think" - Simeone

In an interview with 'Espacio Reservado', the Atlético coach spoke about he felt after losing a second Champions League final: "The pain will always be there".

"I couldn't have left Atleti - I wouldn't have been able to go in peace" - Simeone

Diego Simeone spoke candidly about how he felt after losing a second Champions League final to the same rivals during an interview to be aired later this evening. In a brief clip of tonight’s Espacio Reservado, the Atlético coach explained that rather than throw in the towel after the defeat in Milan last May, he needed time to work out how he could convey the positive energy his players will now need to compete anew.

El Cholo says his post-match comments were taken out of context: “When I used the word ‘failure’ was a case in point because people are afraid of that word but ‘failure’ is a synonym for not reaching an objective; maybe it’s a strong word to use but the reality is that is how I felt at that moment – another important moment, our second crack at the Champions League, which was the result of a huge effort by a lot of people – the club, the players, the fans... it involved a lot of hard work. So not being able to win the trophy for a second time was a failure – but a failure in the sense of not reaching an objective,” he said.

“When I said I needed time to think, what I was referring to was time to think about how I can deal with taking my responsibilities with Atlético de Madrid forward. If I had left, I wouldn’t have been able to go with peace of mind. At no point did the thought of leaving enter my head – I never said I would leave, I only said I need time to think – about a lot of things, amongst them, the energy and spirit which I now need to show in front of all of those lads who, for the past four and a half years have been giving their lives for me; I also have to transmit to them the competitiveness which we are going to need again – after losing two Champions League finals, and that is not easy”.

The Milan final, he added, is a wound which will never heal: “At that moment, obviously, it was a huge blow – to lose a Champions League final for the second time, the pain doesn’t just go; people say you get over these things, it's water under the bridge, but it's not that way for me – nothing will compensate for it - even winning it in the future, I’ll still feel the pain of losing those two finals”.

As for the new season, El Cholo says his Atleti have to pick themselves up, dust themselves down, and compete again – just like he always has done: “I always look to the great sides, and up there with the great teams, Germany has always been a reference. They have won World Cups by sheer insistence – they’ve always been there, in the running. That’s exactly the same route I have been on since I was a boy, and which has taken me to where I am today – by insisting. One thing’s for certain, in life, there are no easy battles for the best warriors – and I consider myself a warrior”.