Simeone: "I have complete faith in Lemar"
The Atlético coach spoke after the 2-0 win over Betis. Héctor Herrera replaced Thomas Lemar at half-time: "In the second half we were more comfortable".
Atlético coach Diego Pablo Simeone gave his thoughts on Saturday's 2-0 win against Betis at the Wanda Metropolitano - a result which puts the team second in the table on 11 points - two points behind Real Madrid.
Why is the team showing a totally different image from the first half to the second half?
I don't agree that there is a big difference between our first half displays and how we have been playing in the second half. Today, in the first half, they were the better side - even though they didn't have many chances on goal. As for us, without playing particularly well in the first 45 minutes, we have to clear chances. We spoke at half-time and the changes we made helped to circulate the ball quicker in midfield. We got a goal and that allowed us to be more comfortable in the second half. After the sending off, the team practically had the game sewn up.
Simeone defends Lemar
Has Lemar wasted his last chance to prove himself?
No. I will stick by my players to the death, I am with them right to the end. Lemar is working hard to improve. In Vigo, he had a good game and he did well in Munich. Today he was a little up and down - there were some good things and other things that were not so good - but we could say that about the whole team during the first half. I have complete faith in his quality and his ability to play. Of course I will continue to count on him because he is one of our players and all of them feature in my plans right up until the final day.
You rotated the team - was that a technical decision or to rest players?
It's part of the decisions that we coaches have to make to deal with the number of games we have to play. I wanted to use Carrasco less today because of the huge effort he made against Bayern. Unfortunately, he picked up an injury and we'll be without him. Sometimes you have to leave out a player who is playing well and try to compensate by using someone else who you feel can do the job in order for us to win the game. Today's result showed that I was right but it's something which we get criticised for on a daily basis.
So the results are the proof when things go to plan?
I don't think that I am always right and in football, I don't think anyone is. When you join a club, the only thing the club wants is that the team wins. If you can win playing incredible football then obviously that is much nicer, but I have yet to meet any football fan who is content to draw or lose. Obviously, everyone wants to win and win playing quality, attractive football and scoring lots of goals, but sometimes, things do not work out as you imagine them and you have to make do with the important part of the game, which is coming away with all three points.
Are you concerned about the right-back and forward positions?
Yes I am, I am worried and I am bothered about all of the small details because football is about all of those details coming together. We try to find the best situations so that the team is balanced and able to compete. When we have a game coming up we have to generate that situation based on the players we have available to field. We always look to deliver what is best for the club and the team.
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