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Atletico Madrid president says City’s football was ‘pre-historic’

Atletico Madrid Training Session and Press Conference – Anfield
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has claimed Manchester City played “pre-historic” football in Wednesday night’s Champions League quarter-final in a pointed barb following Pep Guardiola’s perceived criticism of Diego Simeone’s side.

City held on for a goalless draw at the Wanda Metropolitano to secure a 1-0 aggregate win, but the night will be remembered for ugly scenes towards the end with Atletico’s Felipe sent off and Stefan Savic somehow avoiding a red card before players clashed again after the full-time whistle.

Atletico piled pressure on City in the final stages, with John Stones making a crucial block to deny Matheus Cunha before Ederson saved from Angel Correa in the 11th minute of stoppage time as Guardiola’s men showed some defensive steel.

Although Guardiola insisted after Wednesday’s match he had never criticised Atletico’s style, saying “(Simeone) can play the way he wants”, Atletico were unimpressed by comments after the first leg in which the City boss spoke of “pre-history” when discussing their 5-5-0 formation.

And speaking to Radio Marca, Cerezo hit back on Thursday.

“It was a match that, with a bit of luck, would have taken us to the semi-finals. We were not lucky enough to score a goal and reach extra time,” he said.

“We are a team that has a lot of status so that someone can offend us and in the end it has been shown that everyone has their pre-history. We played a good game, attacking, and City yesterday played pre-history, defending and put a wall in front of their goal so they wouldn’t score.

“Everybody has seen it. City was a completely defensive team. In the second half they shot on goal once. Yesterday it was shown that each one has their pre-history.”

The disgraceful scenes in the latter stages of the match, expected to bring UEFA charges, prompted much criticism of Simeone for the way he often sets up his side to be aggressive, seeking to wind up opponents and influence officials.

But Cerezo defended the 51-year-old, who has twice brought the league title to Atletico and twice reached the Champions League final.

“In the sporting and human aspect, Simeone cannot be criticised,” Cerezo said. “He knows how to be in all situations. He will continue with us, his story is there, he is a winner and will be with us as long as he wants.”

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