Gruff Simeone frustrated with Atleti's exit
By Football News
An abrupt Diego Simeone was disappointed his Atletico Madrid side did not defend their Copa del Rey title, after losing in the semi-finals.
Atletico were beaten 5-0 on aggregate in the last four by local rivals Real Madrid, having taken a 3-0 deficit into their home leg, before two early Cristiano Ronaldo penalties quickly killed off any chance of a comeback from the hosts at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.
When asked if he thought he had fielded a weakened line-up on Tuesday, Simeone accused the media of having the best of both worlds.
"Whenever I play my strongest team the press say I should give the others a chance. Make your minds up," came Simeone's reply.
Furthermore, Simeone said his aim was to control the tempo via an XI packed with midfielders, but they struggled to make an impact - especially after Ronaldo's early brace.
"You can't go into a game like this with the aim of scoring four goals immediately," Simeone said.
"By fielding Koke, Sosa, Mario and Cebolla our aim was to try and win the ball back and play football, with Manquillo and Insua helping on the wing.
"But things didn't go as I'd planned.
"I was happy with the way we reacted in the second half, it's not easy to play as we did after everything that had happened.
"As a coach I can take many positives from that, and I am proud of the fact that in the second half we played how I wanted us to play."
Simeone said their misfortune in the first leg, which saw Atletico concede twice via deflections, was to blame for their exit.
"We experienced certain incidents that meant we were fighting against the tide, such as the two deflected goals at the Bernabeu, because there were few chances in that game," he said.
"Neither goalkeeper touched the ball much over the two legs. Those incidents, plus the two penalties we gave away, have put us out of the tournament."
Simeone said the disappointment was widespread across his squad, as they failed to reach the final in their Copa defence.
"You can never be happy after being knocked out of a tournament, and the squad are not happy," he said.
"Last year we won the cup and this year we got to the semi-finals. We could have done a few things better, but at least we competed."