CL: Atletico Madrid never stopped believing, says coach Diego Simeone
Atletico manager hails his team's immense belief to reverse first-leg deficit to eliminate Barcelona on 3-2 aggregate in their quarter-final return encounter
Madrid: Diego Simeone praised his Atletico Madrid side's spirit as they knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League on Wednesday.
Antoine Griezmann's double over the reigning European champions saw the Rojiblancos reverse a 2-1 deficit from the first-leg of their quarter-final tie and progress to the last four with a 3-2 aggregate win.
And Simeone says his side deserved the win because of the belief and honesty they have shown in what he feels is a world with disintegrating values. "There is a virtue in this team, with the great work of the four and a bit years," said Simeone.
"I'm happy for these players. I'm not just thinking about reaching the semi-finals, it's more important than that. There are fewer values in society all the time, but we are a group of honest workers who can win or lose. We make ourselves strong with the tools we have.
Atletico Madrid players celebrate their victory over Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final second-leg match at the Vicente Calderon in Madrid on Wednesday. Pic/Getty Images
"Once again, we have won a tremendously difficult game — but a nice one. We never stopped believing. We worked knowing the situation,
knowing what we can do. In the first half the game was more like what we wanted, in the second it was closer to what they wanted. They had individuals who could break the game open, but we stayed together and stayed strong.
"We were up against very good opponents, with great players who can change a game in any moment. It was a match between teams with different strengths, and sometimes you win and we won today. These are moments that will not return. They are unique in football.
"We saw loads of children on our bus journey to the stadium. They believed in us. It was a special day."