Simeone: 'What matters is the result'
Diego Simeone has defended Chelsea over their recent style of play, as he declared "what matters is the result".
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has provoked much discussion over the past week with the negative approach used in the 0-0 Champions League first leg against Simeone's Atletico Madrid and then the 2-0 victory over Liverpool.
Ahead of a second leg in which Chelsea must score to go through, however, the Argentine praised Mourinho’s tactics at Anfield in a 2-0 victory on Sunday.
"I'm a football man. I respect different ways of setting out your team. It's about what's the best way for a specific game or a specific opposition," Simeone said.
"To defend well is not easy, so I congratulate teams who do that well. To attack well isn't easy, either. So you have to congratulate managers who get their sides doing that.
"Football evolves. There is no 'best way'. It depends on the manager spending time with his players, talking different set-ups and tactics, different approaches and styles. But, in the end, it's important the team, the club, the institution wins, regardless of how it is achieved. There is no 'one way' to play football. If we all played the same way, it would be very boring. You can play 10 at the back or 10 up front. What matters is the result.
"I imagine I'll play the best possible opponent. We'll play a team who, at the weekend, went to the Premier League leaders, Liverpool, and won 2-0 making a lot of changes to their squad. They did that even with those changes. It's clear that speaks volumes. They have a super competitive squad, so we'll need to be very focused. We'll face the best Chelsea team possible."
Simeone also declared that Atletico have made a "massive statement" this season by reaching the Champions League semifinals and leading La Liga, but he insisted they could not stop to reflect on that.
"The confidence is always there, especially in a semifinal of the Champions League. That's already a massive statement. My players are excited and keen. We know we'll have to work hard tomorrow in a very difficult game, and we'll have to put in an enormous effort to get a positive result.
"I think you all know me. I'm not focusing on where we are at the moment. I just want us to keep moving forward, not on what we've achieved. I usually let you guys talk about the progress we've undertaken in the last three years of success, but I'm not comparing Atletico Madrid with Chelsea, a team who won the Champions League two years ago. In the end, the best team will win. With our hard work and our enthusiasm, we can do well and maybe get a positive result."
Simeone also backed on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to perform despite the pressure of playing at the home of his parent club.
"Yes, he'll be able to handle the pressure without a problem. Also, I think he's working hard to compete to be one of the best goalkeepers in Europe at the moment, but so far he's still very young, he's growing and still needs the time to grow."