Diego Simeone acknowledged that he got his tactics wrong against Rostov but thanked his players for ultimately bailing him out and securing a 2-1 win to send Atletico Madrid through to the Champions League knockout phase.
After a somewhat ponderous start in Madrid, Atletico took the lead thanks to a marvellous improvised effort from Antoine Griezmann in the 28th minute.
Sardar Azmoun hit back for Rostov soon after as the well-drilled visitors looked destined to leave the Vicente Calderon with a point, but Griezmann struck again deep into stoppage time to clinch a fourth successive Champions League triumph.
“As the coach I made bad decisions,” the head coach told reporters.
“I also had bad solutions at different times of the match and I’m hurt by that, very hurt. But fortunately the players knew how to solve the problems.
“Qualifying fills me with pride as an athlete, as a player and because the ways we compete with these players.”
Griezmann’s double ended a four-game run without a goal for Atletico since the 2-0 win at Valencia on October 2 and Simeone was happy to see that drought halt, though he was also quick to insist the Frenchman’s contributions during that period had been more than satisfactory.
“Today Griezmann found the net and the team thanks him because we need his goals,” he added.
“But in recent games that Antoine did not score he was one of the most dangerous players we had.”