We chose to defend – Simeone not worried by Atletico negativity
Diego Simeone is not worried about any perceived negativity in Atletico Madrid's 1-0 LaLiga win at Eibar on Saturday, insisting that his side chose to sit back and defend.
Atletico initially looked like they would blow Eibar away, as Simeone's men created several early chances after what was an imperious start.
Kevin Gameiro eventually gave Atletico the lead just before the half-hour mark, but it was as if that goal flicked a switch for the Spanish capital club, who barely threatened again for the rest of the game.
And in the end, they were hanging on, as Eibar ended the game well on top and only failed to secure a share of the spoils due to wasteful finishing.
Simeone is adamant that was how Atletico wanted to play the match, however.
— Atletico de Madrid (@atletienglish) January 13, 2018
"It was a slight advantage for a match like this and against a very difficult opponent," he told reporters.
"They grew and we chose to take refuge. We chose to defend deep to see if a counter like the [Antoine] Griezman one appeared. Always when it is 1-0, you can see that anything can be in danger.
"Eibar played a great game in the second half. In the second half the transitions were not good.
"They [Eibar] were anxious to get a draw. In the first half those transitions were good and they made us attack with a lot of threat."
Gameiro's winner was his second goal in as many games after netting in the Copa del Rey win over Lleida, and Simeone is hopeful that the Frenchman is awakening again after a difficult start to the season.
"Hopefully, because he is a very important player and he has speed in the final third," Simeone said.
"The players are showing how the competition [for places] is completing the group. The most important thing in this team is not the amount of minutes, but the quality of them."