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Simeone explains why Atlético end matches defending in their own penalty area

The coach spoke about Atleti's level of form, says they are not thinking about Chelsea and explained why the team drops deep in the final minutes...

Simeone, entrenador del Atlético, en rueda de prensa.

Diego Pablo Simeone took questions from the media to look ahead to tomorrow's trip to Getafe. Atlético, he says, are not thinking about Wednesday's Champions League return leg against Chelsea. The coach also was asked why his team spent the final minutes of their recent league games against Real Madrid and Athletic Club defending deep in their own penalty area.

Is LaLiga taking priority over the Champions League?

For the last 10 years we have thought only about taking one game at a time and we have never veered away from that way of thinking…

Atleti have conceded 10 goals in the last 11 games. What's happened?

I am seeing different characteristics from other seasons to the current one. We are scoring more goals than we did last season but we are also conceding more. The numbers show that we have improved in front of goal but we are suffering more in defence. We are trying to find a balance, and if we can, that would be ideal.

Atleti top, Getafe in 15th

What do you make of Getafe?

We have been taking a look at them, their characteristics are the same as before. They are an aggressive, intense team, who know exactly what they are doing, and never give any ball up for lost… They have a great competitive spirit and that is what we will encounter tomorrow, like we always have whenever we have played one of Bordalás' sides.

What are your thoughts on the Llorente-Suárez partnership?

They are not a strike partnership, one plays in the thick of the action while the other plays further forward. We are playing well as a team and that allows individual talents to come out - one day it might be Llorente, another it might be Suárez, Correa, João, Saúl, Koke, the defence, Oblak…. The team is having a great season and the important players are exceeding themselves from the way we are playing.

Is Oblak ok?

Yes. We decided that he should work inside the gym today but he is fit for the game.

Why does the team end games defending around the area?

It's usually for inertia. When a team is winning 1-0 or 2-1, you don't often see them attacking in the last five minutes. Normally, the rival team is pushing to try and score and sometimes they end up equalising, or winning if they can grab another goal. It's football. It happens a lot, although ideally, you would like to kill the game off earlier. I'd love our games to finish 4-0, but that's very difficult in LaLiga…

Do you understand it when others claim you 'park the bus'?

I do understand. I am playing too and when the score is slim, you start getting more anxious because you want to win… A coach once told me that if in 90 minutes you cannot score two goals to turn the score around, you're not going to go in search of a goal in the 93rd minute. It's better to wind down and finish the game well… Inertia naturally makes you retreat and that's the case in every game. When there is only one goal in it, inertia pushes you back. If they equalise, it's because we've 'parked the bus'. If we win, great job by the team. Headlines are always written in a hurry but these kinds of situations happen all the time.


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