Atlético Madrid took a big blow off Lionel Messi’s left boot on Sunday afternoon, as his 26th minute free kick saw Barcelona hang on for a vital win. The match was intense and chippy at points, but Atlético could not break the deadlock to score a goal and now find themselves eight points behind the Catalans.
After the match, Diego Simeone and José Giménez spoke on how they felt the match went.
On the match:
“It was a very even match, like the one in the first half of the season. They had a good first half and in the second, we reacted well and did what we could to try to score the equalizer.
”In the second half, we saw a hard working team. We saw the team’s conviction.
”I...always think of the next match, so we don’t stray from our objective: keep improving. I think we’re close because we always compete in the best manner.”
On Messi and the financial dominance of Barcelona and Real Madrid:
“If we take Messi and put him in an Atletico shirt, we win this match 1-0.”
“Messi is a special player, he made the difference.”
“I like seeing a Barcelona side that is organised and tight defensively, using a 4-4-2. It shows that you can play without the 4-3-3. I love what Ernesto Valverde is doing.”
“We have no doubt that we can get closer to our objectives. What we can’t do is distance ourselves from the numerical reality that Barcelona and Real Madrid have been dominating for 14 years. We did the impossible [in winning the 2013/14 title] and it’s hard to repeat that.”
On the match:
“I’m proud of this team. We gave it our all on the pitch. I think Atlético de Madrid fans are proud of us. The team gave it their all and never gave up.”
On the title race:
“Barcelona aren’t invincible and they can drop points in any stadium. We have to be calm and game by game, we’ll see what will happen at the end of the season.”