Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has expressed his satisfaction after 1-0 win over Real Valladolid in La Liga at an empty Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Saturday and said that he was happy that they were able to pick up “three very important points”.
“We played well in the first half and had chances to take the lead. We weren’t clinical, so we struggled. Valladolid had two or three counterattacks,” Simeone said in a video posted on Atletico Madrid’s official Twitter handle.
Both the Atletico and Valladolid began the match on equal footings and restricted each other to get a breakthrough in the first half. The second half, too, witnessed similar scenes before substitute Vitolo scored the only goal of the night.
“The second half was similar. They continued to defend very well. They closed every space possible and forced us to cross the ball. We pushed until we until we scored from an unexpected situation. It looked like it wasn’t going to go in, but it did, narrowly. We pick up three very important points,” he added.
Vitolo was introduced in the 73rd minute by Simeone, replacing Marcos Llorente. He turned out to be the super-sub as he scored a header from the corner in the 81st minute after Valladolid goalkeeper Juan Antonio failed to clear the delivery.
Atletico are now safely placed at third with 52 points and find themselves in a favourable position to remain in the top-four.
The match, which was Atletico’s first match at their home venue in over three months, began with several tributes to club legends, members and supporters who had succumbed to death during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Simeone said that even though the fans were not there in the stadiums, “their soul was”.
“The fans weren’t here physically but their soul was. You can feel that. The team has persisted and gone for the win. We won it in the end like it usually happens when the fans are here. It was tight but it was very important,” he said.