Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone lauded his players for their never-say-die attitude following Sunday’s dramatic win against Sporting Gijon.
Antoine Griezmann was the hero for Atletico, heading home in the third minute of injury time as the La Liga title hopefuls triumphed 1-0.
Atletico – unbeaten in five league matches – moved into third position, just four points adrift of leaders and reigning champions Barcelona after 11 matches.
Speaking to reporters post-match, a pleased Simeone said: “I think that the perfect definition for this game that was very hard, well played by the rival which obviously generated complications for us, is insisting.
“The team never stopped insisting, playing a good game at times, or at others playing too much at the top, with moments trying to break away through the wings trying to win cleared balls, trying to solve their counters in the best way.
“They are fast on the counter-attack but I think that the perfect word that best associates what I said yesterday is a synonym of Atletico that I forgot, which is insistence.
“Today, one again, insisting gave us a very big prize.
“When a team is as constant about winning throughout the match as it was, it wins and today, thank God, it won at the end.”
Atletico were not at their best in Madrid, struggling to create many opportunities throughout the contest.
Prior to his last-gasp winner, Griezmann came closest to opening the scoring, denied by Sporting goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar, who produced a remarkable double save at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.
On-loan Barcelona midfielder Alen Halilovic had almost broke the deadlock in the first half after forcing Jan Oblak into a fine stop.
Simeone added: “I would be worried if the team didn’t have the insistence it had. I would be worried if the goal had not been celebrated as it was celebrated.
“I would be worried if [Stefan] Savic was a starter after a long time without playing and he hadn’t played well.
“I would be worried if suddenly [Jesus] Gamez entered the field and he didn’t play well. We are OK.”