Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone is not short on admirers, but one person who is less than convinced by his coaching philosophy is compatriot Jorge Sampaoli.
Former Chile coach Sampaoli was at Camp Nou to watch Simeone’s side take on Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Atletico lost 2-1 to Barca in the first leg of the quarter-final tie, and Sampaoli said he had a different outlook on the game than Simeone, despite the results he has achieved, having led the Spanish capital club to La Liga glory in 2013-14.
“I don’t believe in the same kind of football as he does and I think we have very different outlooks on this sport,” he told AS.
“That said, you cannot deny how good Atletico are. The level of commitment the players show towards him is praiseworthy.
“Only with that commitment is the Atletico machine able to always play well.”
Sampaoli said he preferred the style of Pep Guardiola, adding that Bayern Munich were the model team in world football.
“I look at Bayern Munich and Pep Guardiola and I notice their way of doing things,” he said.
“In the same way that you noticed the style of [Marcelo] Bielsa in his teams. This is an important thing and not something that you notice with every manager.
“I don’t know if they’ll win the Champions League as that comes down to fine details. In general I see more matches than ever, but less football.”
Sampaoli said in his early coaching days he was more heavily influenced by Bielsa.
“At first I really liked Bielsa. I worked in a bank, but whenever I could I would watch the matches and training of Bielsa’s teams.
“I’m talking about the original Bielsa, when he coached in the third and fourth Argentinian divisions. Later I have taken some things from Guardiola. I like to use ideas from both Guardiola and Bielsa.
“When there are ten religions and you only follow one, you miss out on the other nine. I came to understand that as well as playing direct, you need to master possession.”
Sampaoli has been without a job in football since giving up his post with Chile, whom he guided to Copa America success last year, a victory he said his team was worthy of.
“It was a well-deserved victory as we played against elite teams with elite players, without being elite ourselves,” he said.
“It was tough to play against my own country Argentina in the final. We set up to play the final away from the penalty areas, where they are obviously better.
“Argentina has the best team in the world, as well as [Lionel] Messi.”
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