Atletico will not change approach for second leg against City, says Simeone

Manager refuses to be drawn into argument about style ahead of game in Madrid

Diego Simeone says that Atlético Madrid's approach to the Champions League quarter-final second leg will not differ much from the first despite his team needing to beat Manchester City to progress. The coach also insisted that he would not be drawn into an argument about style amid intense criticism of his defensive set-up at the Etihad.

After the first leg, which City won 1-0, Pep Guardiola said since "prehistory" it had been difficult to break down a team that play as deep as Atlético had, employing two lines of five. Some in Spain interpreted those words as dig at Atlético, and there has been renewed debate sparked by Simeone tactics. The Argentinian, though, said that he would not respond and appeared to call for respect for his approach, citing advice from his father, Carlos, who died recently: "It's the mouth that kills the fish."

“I have been coaching since 2005 and I always say the same thing: I never do [comment], I am never disrespectful with colleagues of mine,” Simeone said. “I put myself in the position of the coaches I compete against and I understand that there are different ways of expressing what you feel as a coach.” He then drew on a phrase inspired by fishing which notes that if a fish keeps its mouth shut, it does not get caught on the angler’s hook.

“When someone does not appreciate a colleague, I don’t share that. Others’ opinions: press, ex-players, people who haven’t been in the game a long time have opinions and talk . . . I’ll say what my dad always said: por la boca muere el pez. Words are free and we can all express an opinion. There are ways of acting among colleagues and I have one: respect others always, always, always.”

Simeone said he had watched Manchester City against Liverpool, a "fantastic" game between two "teams who play very nice football", and he highlighted the way that both sides had at times to "take refuge" and adopt "very clear defensive position" because of the quality of their opponents.

He said he did not expect City to play differently in the second leg and admitted that nor would Atlético. “I am not going to get far away from what we believe in,” he said. “[But] hopefully we can combine better, have better, faster transitions, be more precise our counterattacks, that our most significant players can have a fantastic night. We will try to take the game to where we think we can hurt them. In a football match, anything can happen.” – Guardian