Simeone still believes league title defence impossible
Posted on Aug 23 2014 | IANS
Madrid, Aug 23 : Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone saw his side beat Real Madrid 1-0 Friday night to clinch the Spanish Supercup 2-1 on aggregate but reiterated a day later that it was impossible for his side to compete with their rivals FC Barcelona and Real over a full season.
Mario Mandzukic's early goal gave Atletico the title and a modicum of revenge for their heartbreaking defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, reports Xinhua.
Simeone's side deserved their win with 90 minutes of intense football against a rival that disappointed, especially in the first half.
The Argentinean had said before the match that Atletico could not repeat their title winning feats of last season and Friday's win did nothing to change his tune.
"Over one or two games, we have a chance, but in a league of 38 matches, Barcelona, even in a bad season for them, almost won the league. And Madrid as well; if they had beaten Valencia they would have been top," he said, looking at the small differences which make the difference between winning a title or not.
"It is very difficult to compete across so many fixtures. But we are competitive over 90 minutes," repeated Simeone.
The coach also apologised for the incident which saw him being sent off midway through the first half as he first complained a referee's decision and then gave the fourth official a slight slap around the head.
"It was anxiety, nerves. I apologised," said the Atletico coach.
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti meanwhile had to face questions over the decision to leave winger Angel Di Maria out of his side.
Di Maria had been important during his short appearance Tuesday's first leg, but after admitted Thursday the player had asked for a move over the summer, Ancelotti did not include him in his squad, fuelling rumours Di Maria would be sold.
"It was a technical decision, we didn't need him," he said, before looking at the defeat, which means Real Madrid end their pre-season with five defeats, a draw and just one win.
"I think we lost control of the play, and were playing too many long balls. We needed more possession, which we did very well in the first half. In the second half, it was more difficult and we allowed them to defend how they wanted," he explained.