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Happy Simeone hails match winner Falcao

Diego Simeone praised his Club Atlético de Madrid players for "showing what they are about" in their victory over Athletic Club and reserved particular praise for striker Falcao.

Happy Simeone hails match winner Falcao
Happy Simeone hails match winner Falcao ©UEFA.com

Diego Simeone, Atlético coach
Winning is always great. As a player you enjoy it more because you're on the pitch, you can run, you can shout. As a coach you have to stay composed. You know it's the players' moment. I am proud of my players, I'm happy for the Atlético public and grateful for the people who have trusted in us since [I was appointed in] December.

We knew at some point we'd have to give up the ball and give them possession but with four players in attack we could hurt Athletic with one pass forward. It helped us being so decisive [with the chances taken], from that point on we grew in strength. Tonight we showed what Atlético are about – a fast team, strong defensively and I'm very proud of this.

Big players run a risk because they have experience but if they can't put their past wins to one side and get excited for [a final], their experience counts for nothing. Falcao is the best example – he forgot what he did last year and because of that he could live the moment he did today. I've known Radamel since he was a boy – I had him at River [Plate in 2008], we won a league together. I love him as a person and admire him. There's no ceiling to his ambition.

Diego is a player who makes the difference – if he's playing well, you have a chance of winning. We have to try to get into the Champions League to see if he'll stay with us [as he is currently on loan].

Marcelo Bielsa, Athletic coach
We didn't expect this result tonight and didn't expect such a stark difference between what we thought we could do and what happened. The key thing was they managed to play the kind of game they wanted and we did the opposite – that was the big difference.

We wanted to play our type of game and didn't manage to do that, they did what they wanted to achieve and I feel personally responsible for this result. There's no question of consolation, it is totally natural for the players to be this way when we've not reached our target – of course they are devastated.

The margin of their victory was not deserved, the difference was exaggerated – it was not in proportion to what I saw. What happened on pitch from my viewpoint is that they scored three goals and had eight chances; we had nine and scored none.

What I'm sorry about is that the difference [in performance] we've seen on the pitch is not the difference that exists. We didn't defend well, we weren't decisive in attack and we were less than what we can be. This is clearly my responsibility.