Simeone delighted with 'special' Atletico
Defending Europa League champions, Atletico Madrid, raced to a three-goal lead just after the hour mark against Israel's, Hapoel Tel Aviv with a much-changed lineup that did not include star man Radamel Falcao as well as other regulars.
"I am very happy, but mainly because there were kids playing their first 90 minutes here and they are still being trained on how to play," Atletic coach Diego Simeone told reporters after the final whistle.
"They are outstanding players and we need to understand this as a team, that they are playing for each other. We have to be prepared.
"We have commitment, humility and we want to work as a team. This is what gave us the chance of doing an important job."
The former Lazio midfielder then reserved special praise for Diego Costa, who starred on the night by scoring a goal and providing an assist.
"Diego Costa is very important for the entire footballing year. We have Adrian, Raul Garcia, Diego, Falcao - who wasn’t here," he continued.
"I've never liked using regular starters and substitutes. They are all football players, representing a club. We want to be competitive and to have a team that always knows what is wanted.
"I do not know what game was expected, but we played a very strong first half that was very specific. We were very clear about what we wanted from our preparation and now we have to keep looking forward and never back, in what will be achieved."
The win was Atletico's 13th in a row in the competition, a streak that stretches back to last season's group stages.