Chelsea progressed to the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday, humbling one Diego Simeone in the process.
Thomas Tuchel‘s men had a one-goal lead to defend heading into the second leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night having won 1-0 in the first leg, in Romania, thanks to Olivier Giroud’s super strike.
And in the second leg, after dodging a penalty scare with Cesar Azpiliecueta getting away with a foul on Yannick Carrasco, Chelsea finished the job.
It was an excellent and thorough performance from Chelsea, but equally, it was a lifeless display from their opponents, Atleti, who have followed the diminishing of their lead at the top of La Liga over recent weeks with Champions League elimination.
Speaking after the game, Atleti boss Diego Simeone refused to focus on his team’s shortcomings, instead admitting just how much they were outperformed by Chelsea.
“We tried to go and press them, but they were able to get out of it, and we could not keep up with them,” he told reporters.
“You have to congratulate your opponents when they are the better team. We tried to press them up the field, worked hard. We couldn’t attack the way we like.”
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Atleti have seen a lead of 10 points and with a game in hand shrink to just four points and without a game in-hand in recent weeks, allowing Barcelona, and indeed Real Madrid, who are six points worse off as things stand, back into the race.
A Champions League exit has not helped talk of a mini-crisis heading into the back end of the season, but Simeone is keeping a level head, despite admitting recent weeks have been ‘really tough’.
“It has been a tough campaign, lets not forget our trips to Russia and Germany, it has been really tough,” he added. “The reality is we need to keep improving, we have a promising future ahead of us.”