Diego Simeone expects ‘pure’ football test in Leicester return after Atletico Madrid take first leg lead
Atletico coach believes his side face a ‘pure night’ of football when go to King Power for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone believes his side face a “pure night” of football when they take a 1-0 to Leicester City’s King Power for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
Antoine Griezmann’s penalty was the only goal at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday as Atletico failed to make the most of their dominance as Leicester failed to have a single shot on goal in 90 minutes.
“We anticipate a fantastic football night. An English stadium, the fans close to the pitch, it will be a pure night of football,” Simeone said of the return leg on April 18.
Griezmann was by a distance the stand out performer as he also created the penalty as he was brought down right on the edge of the box after a storming run from inside his own half.
The French international had missed his last four Atletico penalties, including in last season’s Champions League final.
However, he dusted himself down to slot home his 24th goal of the season.
“He is a fabulous player,” added Simeone.
“He is a complete player, you don’t know what position he plays because he is all over the pitch.
“He is still growing, he is playing very well at an important part of the season and has is assuming more responsibility in the hierarchy of the team.”
Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare claimed his side had been let down by Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson’s decision to award the penalty when Griezmann was upended by Marc Albrighton.
“I think we were hard done by,” said Shakespeare.
“I think it is one of the major decisions in the game. It is a definite foul but it is outside the box.”
Leicester have now lost two consecutive games after winning their first six after Shakespeare replaced the sacked Claudio Ranieri, who led the Foxes to a remarkable Premier League triumph last season.
However, he backed the English champions to turn around their narrow deficit having won all four of their home Champions League games this season without even conceding a goal.
“We’re still alive, we want to stay (in the Champions League) but we know we still have a challenge ahead against a very, very good team,” said Shakespeare.
“We know it is still going to be a very difficult return match.
“We have a very good home record at the King Power, our fans enjoy these Champions League nights.
“We have to create more chances, we have to attack probably a bit more than we did tonight, but we are aware of what we need to do in the second leg.”
Shakespeare, though, did accept a more open game could play into Atletico’s hands as they seek to reach a third semi-final in four seasons.
“It will be very difficult because we have to be more open and attack more,” he added.
“One of Atletico’s pluses is the counter-attack, but we are still in this tie.”