Simeone: Atlético proved value by beating Barça

Diego Simeone said Atlético Madrid had come through yet another "tremendously difficult game" as Luis Enrique acknowledged Barcelona had not been at their best.

Antoine Griezmann celebrates his opening goal
Antoine Griezmann celebrates his opening goal ©Getty Images

Diego Simeone, Atlético coach
There is a virtue in this team, with the great work of the four and a bit years we have been together. I'm happy for these players who have come together in this team; 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.

Today, once again, we have won a tremendously difficult game – but a very 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.

Highlights: Griezmann's Atlético double
Highlights: Griezmann's Atlético double

We were up against very good opponents, with great history and with 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.

Now I'm not thinking about anything other than Granada, for sure. Manchester City have enormous financial power, extraordinary players. Madrid, Bayern ... the history they have. They are all great teams. But for Atlético Madrid to be among the four best in Europe is a big step – now we can do more.

Filipe Luís delight at Atlético's fighting spirit
Filipe Luís delight at Atlético's fighting spirit

Luis Enrique, Barcelona coach
It was the game we predicted, although perhaps I didn't expect Atlético to play so deep. It wasn't our best performance: we weren't sharp enough and we struggled to create chances. We really wanted to go further in this competition and rise to the challenge [of defending the title] but we congratulate Atlético Madrid.

The first half was quite quiet really. They played their way, waiting for us and trying to score [on the break]. It's obvious we aren't at our best at the moment, especially if you consider the level we have been playing at this season. But that's football. We need to lift ourselves now.

Griezmann squeezes home his penalty
Griezmann squeezes home his penalty©AFP/Getty Images

The players wanted to retain the trophy, the fans too, but today it was not to be. We are sad, of course. I expected Atlético to attack more. We weren't under pressure; we had the ball and controlled the game. They wanted to take one of their few chances, and they took advantage of our mistake to go in front. Then they did what they do best – defend in their own half. They did that very well and delivered a complete performance.

We lacked a bit of cleverness. We wanted a controlled game, not end-to-end stuff. It wasn't a game for flicks and tricks. We didn't create enough dangerous situations, as we knew a goal would be very important. We had control but without much of a threat. In the second half we put more people in front of the ball and created opportunities, yet we still found it difficult.

Happier times: Barcelona's 2015 win
Happier times: Barcelona's 2015 win

I congratulate Atlético, they were better than us. Our objectives are always the highest. We are proud that Barcelona always aim to win everything. But we must accept this result and try to improve. We have two competitions left now, with a great chance to win them. They are two attractive goals to aim for. For any other coach in world, winning those two would be enough. But we must improve.