Southampton like Atletico, says Alderweireld

Loanee Toby Alderweireld believes Southampton have the same mentality as parent club Atletico Madrid.

Alderweireld - on a season-long deal from Atletico - has played a key role as Southampton continue to mount an unlikely challenge for UEFA Champions League qualification.

Despite an exodus of players before the start of the season, manager Ronald Koeman has guided Southampton to the fourth and final Champions League spot after 18 rounds.

Alderweireld enjoyed a similar experience - though on a greater scale - in Madrid as Diego Simeone's Atletico defied the odds to win Spain's La Liga ahead of city rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona last term.

The Belgium international defender puts Atletico's success down to their team spirit and mentality under Simeone, something he feels also relates to Southampton.

"Yes, because in the beginning nobody was giving Atletico a chance," Alderweireld told the Telegraph.

"Even maybe the last 10 games, people were saying: 'Yeah, they will lose points,' but, just like the coach Simeone, told us: 'Go game by game and at the end we will see. They are better, they have a better squad, better players, but we have something special – we have a team.'

"We have to have a team [at Southampton] and we can do great things like now. Of course, Graziano [Pelle] is scoring, and [Dusan] Tadic is getting his assists, but I think the team is our strength."

Alderweireld added: "We love to play a little bit more beautiful football but the organisation has to be good otherwise you can't make goals.

"They are similar in their organisation but Simeone was a little bit more tactical in a different way and Koeman is more, 'How we can beat them, how can we have the ball possession?'

"Simeone makes a team, team, team. Nobody's more important than the team. If you think you are [more] important, you go out, no matter who it was. There was one thing: winning. Simeone doesn't care. Just winning.

"No matter how ugly it was: winning, three points, go home. Tactically, I think he's the best coach I have ever seen."