Diego Simeone praises his players’ ‘cojones’

Champions League final will be the first time a derby has taken centre stage for European football

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone  during the Uefa Champions League semi-final second leg match against Chelsea  at Stamford Bridge. Photograph:  Clive Rose/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone during the Uefa Champions League semi-final second leg match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Thu, May 1, 2014, 13:26

Diego Simeone praised his players’ mothers for producing sons with “balls” after Atletico Madrid booked their place in the Champions League final with an emphatic 3-1 win over Chelsea.

Los Colchoneros went behind to a goal from Fernando Torres after 36 minutes but hit back with strikes from Adrian, Diego Costa and Arda Turan to win the semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge.

“I want to thank the mothers of these kids, because they were born with balls this big,” Simeone said in his post-match press conference. “The reaction of the team will remain in the memories of people. They were against a powerful team with a long history in the Champions League so I’m very happy.”

Atletico, who had not reached a European Cup final since 1974 before Wednesday, will now take on city rivals Real Madrid in this year’s showpiece in Lisbon on May 24th.

It will be the first time a derby has taken centre stage for European football’s biggest prize but Simeone is not overawed by the prospect.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti congratulated Atletico and suggested the final is too close to call.

“Real Madrid are a powerful club and they are accustomed to these situations, but we arrive with enthusiasm and desire after waiting many years to get to this final,” he added.

“Atletico deserved to reach the final because they were better than Chelsea,” he told Sky Italia. “In Madrid people are happy to have a derby in the final. “There is no favourite. Atletico are doing very well in the league, but anything can happen.”

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