Atletico Madrid boss Diego Someone refused to look for excuses after his side’s defeat to Chelsea..
Simply, the Argentine admitted: “We were beaten by a better team.”
The La Liga leaders were no match for Thomas Tuchel’s men at Stamford Bridge in their Champions League tie on Wednesday night.
Trailing 1-0 on aggregate from the first leg in Bucharest, Atletico needed to be much improved in west London.
Instead, they were comfortably beaten, becoming the latest side to fail to overcome Tuchel’s Blues.
Hakim Ziyech’s first-half effort and Emerson’s injury time strike handed Chelsea a 2-0 success and ensured a 3-0 aggregate triumph.
It also meant that Tuchel is 13 games unbeaten since succeeding Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge.
Atletico perhaps should have been awarded a first-half penalty for a foul by Cesar Azpilicueta on Yannick Carrasco; it wasn’t given, nor did VAR pay it much attention either, despite appeals from Atleti players.
Asked post-game by Spanish TV about that decision, Simeone was clear in his assessment – both of that incident, and the entire encounter.
“No, we are not looking for excuses,” he declared. “We were beaten by a better team.
“We tried to go and press them, but they were able to get out of it, and we could not keep up with them.”
Simeone’s words say everything about where this Chelsea side is at right now.
The proclamations about the harshness of Frank Lampard’s sacking – widespread when announced – have died away as quickly as the defensive deficiencies that were the side’s Achilles heel under him.
That fragility is no more, as witnessed by Luis Suarez and Joao Felix barely being able to lay a glove on Chelsea over two legs; Edouard Mendy’s latest blank was the 11th clean sheet in 13 games under the German.
Tuchel’s 13th straight game without defeat means he has now set the record for the longest ever unbeaten start by a Blues boss – previously held by Luiz Felipe Scolari (of course).
Winning nine and drawing the other four fixtures, the 47-year-old has transformed the side and done his own reputation the power of good following an ignominious end to his Paris Saint-Germain tenure.
Chelsea take on Sheffield United on Sunday in an FA Cup quarter-final before they face West Brom after the international break; those games against the Premier League’s bottom two offering the perfect platform to further his record start.
Then will come the last eight clash in Europe’s premier club competition.
“I’m pretty sure no one wants to play against us,” he boldly declared after seeing off Atleti.
Simeone, a man who has twice visited the final, may well agree.
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