Madrid Derby: Simeone criticises players and himself after defeat vs Real

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said he and his players had got it wrong after his side was resoundingly beaten 2-0 by title rival Real Madrid.

Simeone provoked the outrage of the club's record signing Joao Felix when he took off the lively Portuguese on the hour mark.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said he and his players had got it wrong after his side was resoundingly beaten 2-0 by title rival Real Madrid in Saturday's derby in La Liga.

A first-half header from Casemiro and an own goal from Atleti keeper Jan Oblak after the interval gave Madrid a commanding victory. It also ended Atletico's unbeaten run in the league, although it still leads the standings.

“Today we played very badly, the coach did not have the lucidity to interpret the game better and the team did not do what was asked of them,” Simeone told a news conference.

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“I'll take some important lessons from the defeat, there are areas I need to improve in as a coach as they were far superior to us, anyone could see that. We were poor in the first half, we could not move the ball around well.

“We didn't play the game we wanted to but now we have to stick together and vent our anger in private among ourselves, which has always served us well in the past.”

Atletico went into the game after beating RB Salzburg 2-0 to secure its place in the Champions League last 16 but was played off the park by its neighbour, and Simeone said the team was feeling drained after its trip to Austria.

Real also played a crucial Champions League game, beating Borussia Moenchengladbach to progress to the knockout stage, but showed little tiredness as it rose to third and cut the gap with Atleti to three points albeit having played a game more.

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“We deserve all the criticism we are getting but we made a huge effort the other day, we were anxious to not get knocked out of the Champions League and we were emotionally exhausted,” Simeone said. “It's not an excuse, but it's a reality.”

Simeone provoked the outrage of the club's record signing Joao Felix when he took off the lively Portuguese on the hour mark and replaced him with Saul Niguez while leaving on fellow forward Luis Suarez who had offered very little.

Suarez did come off later for Geoffrey Kondogbia and Atletico finally got its first shot on target but it was unable to find a goal to get it back in the match.

The Argentine coach defended his decisions, however.

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“I did what I felt the game required, I wanted to have fresher legs in midfield and attack, the game was going Madrid's way and we wanted to compete better,” he said.

“I understand when a player gets angry because they feel they could have done more, but you'll have to ask the player why he was angry.

“In the second half, we were closer to the team we have been recently. But you can always have a bad game, a coach can always make a mistake and a player can always get angry. It's part of football.”