Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said his team were deservedly beaten “tactically, technically and physically” in Wednesday’s 2-1 Champions League Group C loss to Chelsea at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Chelsea had the better of the opening stages, with Alvaro Morata coming close on a couple of occasions, and Eden Hazard hitting the post from 20 yards. However Antoine Griezmann’s penalty put Atletico ahead just before the break, after referee Cuneyt Cakir spotted a jersey pull by David Luiz on Lucas Fernandez during a corner.
After boyhood rojiblanco fan and ex-Real Madrid player Morata equalised on the hour mark by glancing home Hazard’s superb cross, Chelsea had chances to win it through Fabregas and Morata again. But it seemed both teams had settled for a point before the visitors worked a superb injury-time move and substitute Michy Batshuayi knocked home the winner with the final kick of the game.
Simeone told his postmatch news conference that he had no complaints about the result, as Chelsea had been clearly the better side.
“The opponent was the better team, they were the more comfortable team in all moments, and deserved to win,” Simeone said. “They played a good game in general, they are a very strong and competitive team, showed their status.
“In the first half we had the chance from Saul to make it 2-0 but we were never comfortable. … They were better tactically, technically, physically, with intensity.
“You must congratulate a team who played as Chelsea did today. A draw was good for us, they had patience in the last play to move the ball very well and end the game very well for them.”
Speaking on Beinsports Griezmann agreed with his coach’s assessment, and added that he himself was not happy with how he personally had played on the night.
“They were the better team in every aspect,” Griezmann said. “There is nothing else to say. We must try and win all our games now. In the first half they were on top of us, and in the second half they were better [too]. Maybe we lacked a better game from me. Apart from the goal I did not have a good day. I must learn from this and keep working.”
Following their opening game goalless draw at Roma, Atletico now have just one point from their first two matchdays. Rojiblanco defender Diego Godin told Beinsports afterwards that they would now be aiming to win each of their four remaining matches to ensure qualification.
“We knew that Chelsea are a great team,” Godin said. “It was a very even game and in the last move they’ve scored the goal. We are taking nothing away, but we must keep on this path. We have to win our games now, to get through to the next round. We must keep fighting in all the games to come.”
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan