Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has accepted full responsibility for his side’s 2-0 defeat at Celta Vigo yesterday.
The defending Spanish La Liga champions, who had beaten Real Madrid 4-0 in the previous round, delivered an under-par performance in Vigo and slumped their fifth loss of the campaign. “In the first half I chose the wrong line-up,” Simeone told the Spanish press.
“We lost 45 minutes because I chose badly.
“The fact is that we lacked balance, we gave away too many balls in midfield and we weren’t able to serve our strikers. It’s not (Fernando) Torres’ fault that he had to be replaced at half-time.
“I made that substitution during the interval in order to try to bring more stability in our midfield in the second half. We started better after the re-start but then we gave a way a penalty before Celta made it 2-0 to secure victory.”
Simeone, whose side struggled without injured midfielders Koke, Arda Turan and Raul Garcia, admitted his side deserved to go home empty handed.
“Celta played a very good game,” the Argentinian said. “They were worthy winners.”
The defeat in Galicia left Atletico third in the standings, seven points adrift of league leaders Real Madrid, who won 2-0 at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday. Atletico host Almeria this weekend before travelling to Germany to face Bayer Leverkusen in their Champions League last-16 first leg on 25 February.
“We will continue to compete in the league,” Simeone said. “Right now our thoughts are on working hard this week to try to play a good game on Saturday.”