After leading the Spanish side for the 400th time the manager described his greatest achievement as the emergence of a defined style
Diego Simeone has reflected enthusiastically on the development of Atletico Madrid’s “identity” during his 400 matches as head coach.
The highly decorated former Argentina international celebrated the milestone with a 4-0 defeat of Sant Andreu in the last 32 of the Copa del Rey.
The second-leg success, which sealed a 5-0 aggregate victory, keeps Simeone in contention to claim his eighth major trophy in charge of the club he represented with distinction as a player.
Atleti have triumphed in La Liga, snared the Europa League twice and gone agonisingly close to winning the Champions League since he took over in 2011, all while cultivating a robust, efficient playing style.
“I get a shiver of excitement thinking about it,” Simone said of the achievement in quotes reported by Mundo Deportivo .
“The best thing is not to look back. Many people have left since I arrived.
“It makes me happy to improve as a team, as a club. I hope I can give it a lot of energy until I leave, because this club needs a lot of energy.
“The best thing is to have a club in which everyone – from the person that serves you at the bar through to the one that has just arrived or the oldest fan – knows how we play. That is to have an identity.”
Atleti overcame a lacklustre first half on Wednesday to score four times after the interval as they eventually disposed of their fourth-tier opponents.
Thomas Lemar, Nikola Kalinic, Angel Correa and Vitolo shared the goals in an encouraging sign of the attacking resources still available to Simeone following Diego Costa’s decision to undergo foot surgery in Brazil.
“Costa’s injury is important for us. It creates opportunities for other kids to show their ability,” the Rojiblancos boss said.
“Now we have options. Kalinic, Gelson [Martins], Correa, [Antoine] Griezmann. We will try to find the best for each game.
“As for Costa, he will be a great addition in February.”