This year, few people see Manchester United or Atletico Madrid in the finals of the Champions League. However, one of these two greats will be among the top eight. In the first match of the duel of the eighth finals, the Red Devils are guests at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium after they tied nine games without defeat in all competitions.
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone is aware that the Old Trafford giant has improved in results and to some extent since the Manchester management replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Ralf Rangnick in November, but as the popular Cholo praised United, if we didn't watch them in late 2021 and early 2022, we would think that this is a punitive expedition that destroys everything in front of it.
And the Devils are nowhere near that.
"If I'm not mistaken, we will meet one of the best teams in the world in the last 14 games. They lost only one match. With the new coach Ralf Rangnick, the team gained in perseverance, teamwork, dedication."
"We can see what United has always been like. They have progressed with the new manager and are already fourth in the league," Simeone said at the conference before the duel in Madrid. In fact, United played 15 games with Ralf Rangnick as head coach.
In fact, he was defeated only by Wolverhampton, but he recorded only eight victories, half of them with the result 1: 0. You will agree that this is not an impressive effect. In the Premier League, he managed to draw with Burnley, Southampton, Aston Villa and Newcastle, teams from the lower part or from the bottom of the table.
At the same time, the defense was often able to fail, the captain and the most expensive central defender in the history of football, Harry Maguire, was constantly the target of criticism, and not counting four pieces for Leeds in the last round, in 14 games, United scored 19 goals.
Diego Simeone on United squad
It is not much for the team that has Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani, Jadon Sancho in the attack ... But Simeone continued on his own. "It is a strong, dynamic, very brave team, with great strikers, generally with quality players.
They are trying to unite a huge talent in the eleven that they send to the field. It will be a very difficult game, like every one in the Champions League." Far from the fact that Atletico Madrid, which is also playing significantly below the recognizable level this season, will not have a difficult job.
They will also miss captain Koke. But the impression is that he gave too much respect to the upcoming rival, one would even think that he was ironic. Because whoever watched United for the weekend, saw that the team is capable of conceding two goals in half a minute.
Simeone must have watched the duel with Leeds, but that didn't stop him from continuing to praise the Devils. "Their team is more compact, stronger ... They have firmness in the defensive line, they are physically very strong, especially their defenders and midfielders."
"It is difficult for United to find weaknesses. I always evaluate the strengths of opponents, but we will find a way to hit them," he concluded. is Argentine.