Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone believes Tuesday’s qualification for the UEFA Champions League final means his lads can now fancy their chances of winning the trophy against either of Manchester City or local rivals Real Madrid in Milan later this month.
Simeone guided Atletico Madrid to their second Champions League final in three years by edging beating Bayern Munich on away goals in a pulsating semi-final that ended 2-2 on aggregate.
“We played against the best opponents that I’ve played in my whole career today, especially in the first half. I was literally in love with this game, because my team also played very well. We coped with the pressure and we scored – and that was very difficult. It is unbelievable what we did. Now we’ve beaten two of the three best teams in Europe.
“I’m proud of my players and how they work on the pitch. We played extremely strong opponents tonight. We try to play with our own characteristics, with the style that we are able and allowed to play and with the players we have. Now we have the chance to win the final as well and we’ll prepare as well as possible to see if we can do that.
“It’s not an coincidence that we are doing so well. We have developed as a team. Now we have a lot of young players and it’s about the club; the players have adapted to the team. We love the way we play; now we’re in the final and we want to win that game as well.” Simeone told UEFA.com after the match in Munich.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in Spain, Bayern levelled the tie through Xabi Alonso’s deflected free-kick. Atletico keeper Jan Oblak saved Thomas Muller’s low penalty, before Antoine Griezmann coolly fired in an equalizer to make things difficult for the Bavarians.
Robert Lewandowski’s header set up a tense finish, but Atletico held on after Fernando Torres missed a penalty.
Backed by a vocal home crowd, Bayern desperately pressed for a third goal that would send them through but could not find a way past Oblak, who blocked David Alaba’s 20-yard volley in injury time.