Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said Sunday’s hard-fought 1-0 win at Celta Vigo was “important” after “a long wait.”
Kevin Gameiro pounced on a loose ball to put Atletico ahead against the run of play in the first half, and although Celta remained on top in terms of possession they rarely threatened an equaliser.
Atletico had travelled to Galicia without a win in in almost a month, and asked at his postmatch news conference if this could be a turning point, Simeone said: “I hope so.
“It is an important win, it was needed. Between the international break, the games against Leganes, Barcelona and Qarabag [in the Champions League], it was a long wait for a win.
“But that is why we worked like this today — the team showed once again that it can suffer, that they do not mind sitting back to defend a result.
“We also had chances ourselves — like when [Celta goalkeeper] Sergio saved from [Antoine] Griezmann. Celta are strong at home, and had scored in all their other games.”
Gameiro’s first goal of the season came in a second successive start, and Simeone said: “Gameiro’s goal makes us happy as it is the second game [this week] he has played and he found the net.
“He is getting better all the time, and that excited [me]. This was an important game.”
Next up is Wednesday’s trip to third-tier Elche for a Copa del Rey last-32 first leg, before facing Villarreal at the Wanda Metropolitano next Saturday.
“We have another difficult week,” Simeone said. “We must play the Copa on Wednesday. We will look for some alternatives to compete in all the competitions. Atletico needed to win today.”
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